Some 12 per cent of voters who backed Boris Johnson in the last election will now opt for Richard Tice’s insurgent party, a new YouGov poll has revealed – more than the 11 per cent who say they will vote for Labour.
Just four in ten intend to stick with the Tories next year, with another 30 per cent unsure or planning not to vote at all.
Reform, which potentially denied Rishi Sunak two by-election victories last month by siphoning off the votes of disillusioned Conservatives, has pledged to stand in every constituency at the next general election.
Last night senior Tory MPs warned the Prime Minister he must deliver on immigration and tax – or risk losing further sections of the electorate.
Rishi Sunak (pictured) must crack down on illegal migration and slash taxes to win back the more than one in ten 2019 Tory voters who have switched to backing Reform UK, senior Conservatives have warned
Some 12 per cent of voters who backed Boris Johnson in the last election will now opt for Richard Tice’s (pictured) insurgent party, a new YouGov poll has revealed
Former Cabinet minister David Jones said: ‘Reform is essentially a protest vote, but it is also certainly something the Conservative Party can’t overlook.
‘The Conservatives won the 2019 general election on the promise to get Brexit done. The relative strength of support for Reform highlights the continuing enthusiasm for Brexit among a large section of the electorate.
‘The Conservative Party must show it is determined to maximise the benefits of Brexit by removing EU regulation, reducing the tax burden and increasing our cooperation on trade and defence with like-minded countries around the world.
‘Our newly-regained independence is key to a better future, which only the Conservatives can realise.’
Fellow Tory MP Tom Hunt added: ‘This doesn’t come as a surprise. I’m not finding many direct switchers to Labour.
‘It also underlines why it is so important we deal with people’s concerns about immigration. For 2019 Tories, it’s the number one issue.’
And backbench Conservative MP Miriam Cates said: ‘If we want to win back those voters who are tempted to switch to Reform, we need to lean in to policies that offer ordinary people cultural and economic security. It’s not too late to do this.’
A Reform UK spokesman said: ‘This is not a surprise at all. These are people who can not vote for the Tories any longer but would never opt for Labour.
Miriam Cates MP (pictured) said the Conservative Party needs to ‘lean in to policies that offer ordinary people cultural and economic security’
‘It is up to Reform to step up to the plate and be worthy of their vote. These aren’t Tory or Labour voters switching – nobody owns their vote.’
Tory backbencher Marco Longhi criticised Mr Tice’s decision to stand in every seat, saying: ‘Reform have been very clear that they want a Labour government.
‘How is sacrificing our nation to the disaster that Labour would be consistent with wanting the best for your country?
‘As a Conservative, I am just as frustrated as Reform are, but to actively support Labour, possibly in cahoots with SNP or Lib Dems, just so they can get proportional representation and a couple of MPs – is wrong to the core as well as unpatriotic. ‘
Responding to the poll, Technology Secretary Michelle Donelan said: ‘As a government, we are focusing on delivery and making sure we are delivering on the areas the British people care about.
‘We’re also tackling some of the longer-term issues so that our children and the next generation can have a better future.’