James Heale James Heale

Farage’s ‘contract’ is all about hurting the Tories

(Photo: Getty)

Nigel Farage has launched his party’s manifesto, which he’s termed ‘Our contract with you’. The Reform leader dropped the word ‘manifesto’, claiming the word is synonymous in voters’ minds with ‘lies’. Farage told attendees he’d chosen Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales for today’s launch to highlight Labour’s record there, yet the document’s contents indicate that it’s the Tories he’s really targeting.

The 24-page contract promises to freeze non-essential immigration, introduce a new tax on employers who hire foreign workers, cut taxes by £88 billion and leave the European Court on Human Rights. It promises a ‘patriotic curriculum’ and 30,000 more full-time members of the Armed Forces. All job seekers would either have to accept a job within four months, or after two job offers. Otherwise they’ll lose all their benefits. Farage’s speech, meanwhile, promised a ‘genuine, radical rethink on the NHS’, one which would ‘look at how the French do it’.

His tax plan relies on £150 billion worth of savings, including £30 billion by scrapping net zero targets and £15 billion off benefits. These figures – neatly set out on a single page in Reform’s contract – are somewhat ambitious. To take one such saving – cutting ‘the huge waste’ in foreign aid by 50 per cent (£6 billion) – Reform’s plan ignores the fact that more than a quarter of this budget last year was spent on supporting migrants in Britain. Farage might claim Reform will be able to remove the 50,000 asylum seekers currently in the UK – but that wouldn’t happen overnight, to pay for such tax cuts. Inevitably, the pair both faced questions from journalists about whether this ‘contract’ amounted to more of a ‘wish list’ than a serious programme for government.

‘We are not going to be in government this time around,’ insisted Farage, arguing that this was more about building up Reform for the 2029 election. Pithy, punchy but policy-light, Reform’s contract will still no doubt have its desired effect this time around: punching the Tories’ bruises and converting their voters to the growing ranks of Reform.

Watch more analysis from James Heale, Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson on Spectator TV: