Description

Reform UK is a right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom. It was founded with support from Nigel Farage in November 2018 as the Brexit Party, advocating hard Euroscepticism and a no-deal Brexit and was a significant political force in 2019. After Brexit, it was renamed to Reform UK in January 2021, and became primarily an anti-lockdown party during the COVID-19 pandemic. Subsequently, in December 2022, it began campaigning on broader right-wing populist themes during the British cost-of-living crisis. As the Brexit Party, it gained 29 seats and the largest share of the national vote in the 2019 European Parliament election.

Farage had been the leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), a right-wing populist and Eurosceptic party, during its zenith in the first half of the 2010s. He returned to frontline politics as leader of a new Brexit Party in the context of the lengthy Brexit process initiated by the result of the 2016 EU referendum, which had been called partly in response to UKIP's influence. The Brexit Party campaigned for a no-deal Brexit, which it described as "a clean-break Brexit". It won high-profile defections from the Conservative Party, one of the two main parties in the UK parliament, including Ann Widdecombe and Annunziata Rees-Mogg. It also won some endorsements from some left-wing supporters of Brexit, including former Respect Party MP George Galloway. Following the election of leading Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson as leader of the Conservative Party, Farage offered him an electoral pact in the 2019 general election; the offer was rejected, but the Brexit Party unilaterally decided not to stand candidates in constituencies won by the Conservatives in the previous election. The Brexit Party failed to win any seats in the 2019 UK general election.

On 31 January 2020, the United Kingdom withdrew from the European Union. By May 2020, because it had styled itself as being focused on reform of democracy in Britain, there were proposals to re-brand the Brexit Party as the Reform Party. The COVID-19 pandemic hit the UK in 2020 and the government imposed a national lockdown to slow the spread of the disease. Farage re-branded the party as Reform UK around the end of the year to focus on anti-lockdown campaigning. He stepped down as leader in March 2021 and was replaced by Richard Tice.

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