DeSmog

Reform UK

Background

Reform UK is a right-wing political party in the United Kingdom. The party was set up by Nigel Farage in 2018 as the Brexit Party, then renamed Reform UK in January 2021 following the 2019 UK general election.

Richard Tice, founder of pro-Brexit group Leave Means Leave, led the party from March 2021 to June 3, 2024, when Nigel Farage announced he would return as party leader and stand in the July 2024 general election.1Ben Quinn, Pippa Crerar, and Eleni Courea. “Nigel Farage to stand for Reform UK in general election U-turn,” the Guardian, June 3, 2024. Archived June 3, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hRZNv Tice is now the chairman of the party, a role he previously held from 2019 to 2021.2Who is Richard Tice? The ex-Reform UK leader replaced by Nigel Farage,” Sky News, June 12, 2024. Archived June 14, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/WhlpG

Tice had replaced Nigel Farage as Reform UK’s leader while Farage remained the Reform UK’s “honorary president” and an active supporter of the party.3Nigel Farage. “As Honorary President of Reform UK, I will be speaking at 11am. You can watch on the livestream.,” tweet from user @Nigel_Farage, March 20, 2023. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archived June 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/zNHuq 4Chas Geiger. “Tories copying Reform UK rhetoric, not actions – Nigel Farage,” BBC News, October 8, 2023. Archived October 8, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/lAZGv

Reform UK party leader Richard Tice has stated that the party would pursue policies that would allow companies to open new coal fields, shale gas facilities and North Sea oil and gas wells in the UK.5 Brian Wheeler. “Richard Tice: Reform UK leader says he wants to wipe Tories out at polls,” BBC News, January 4, 2023. Archived October 5, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Lnudu

According to analysis by DeSmog, the party received £135,000 in 2023 from donors linked to climate science denial and investments in fossil fuels.6Adam Barnett. “Nigel Farage’s Reform Party Took £135,000 from Climate Science Deniers and Fossil Fuel Interests,” DeSmog, November 17, 2023.

Tice is also a talk show presenter for GB News, which regularly platforms individuals and organisations that spread climate denial,7Adam Barnett. “Revealed: 1 in 3 GB News Hosts Spread Climate Denial On Air in 2022,” DeSmog, May 26, 2023. and has previously hosted programmes for TalkTV.8Richard Tice. “Richard clashes with climate author Gerald Kutney following a Twitter spat in which Gerald labelled Richard “disgraceful”. Richard says “How dare you smear me and label me for being a denier when I’m doing more to reduce emissions than you are!“. Tweet by user @TalkTV. August 28, 2022. Archived August 31, 2022. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. 

Prior to its rebranding as Reform UK, the Brexit Party manifesto for the 2019 general election listed a number of anti-environmental policies as part of its platform, including cutting VAT on domestic fuel and scrapping the UK’s High Speed 2 (HS2) railway line.9Callum Tindall. “Election 2019: what are the Brexit Party’s policies – apart from the obvious,” The Conversation, December 3, 2019. Archived December 3, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ThUYU 

Stance on Climate Change

The Reform UK party manifesto for the 2024/25 UK general election doubts the legitimacy of climate science and questions the extent to which human activities are driving climate change:10Reform is Essential,” Reform UK. Archived September 25, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. 

“Reform UK fully accepts that climate change is real, after all it has happened for millions of years based on multiple factors completely outside human control or influence. Warming has of course taken place over the last approximately 150 years, with signs over recent years that it is now leveling off. Humans have had an impact on this global warming, though scientists disagree as to how much. Those who think that getting to Net Zero will stop climate change are in fact just denying reality.”

The manifesto also includes a page discussing “an honest debate on climate change”, which includes the following claims: 

  • “The earth has increased in greenery over the last 30 years, partly thanks to higher CO2 levels. CO2 is a natural fertiliser, which is essential to plant life via photosynthesis, and without plants humans could not exist!
  • “The Arctic sea ice cover has increased since a low point in 2012 and is very close to 30 year average levels
  • “Overall sea ice cover in Antarctica has not declined in recent decades”.

The manifesto goes on to state that “Westminster’s Net Zero plans send our jobs and money overseas, making us Net Poorer and Net Colder”, adding that net zero policies are “net stupid”. 

The party also wants to develop new oil and gas fields in the North Sea, open onshore fracking sites across the country, and “restart opencast coal mines using the latest cleanest techniques”.

May 31, 2024

In an appearance on news programme BBC Breakfast, then-Reform leader Richard Tice claimed that net zero policies would make no difference to sea level rise driven by climate change, and implied that volcanoes and the sun were responsible for atmospheric warming.11Simon Evans. “Reality check: the Reform UK party’s claims on the climate crisis examined,” the Guardian, June 4, 2024. Archived Archive URL: https://archive.ph/RTgHQ

Tice told the interviewer:

“Net zero will make zero difference to climate change, as confirmed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that says if you get to net zero, it’ll make no difference to sea level rise for between 200 and 1,000 years. Actually, what we need to do with climate change – of course, we all care about the environment of the planet – we need to adapt to it. The idea that you can stop the power of the sun or volcanoes is simply ludicrous. Anyone who thinks you can, frankly, you’re misinformed.”

March 2024

Reform UK published its “Contract With You”, which outlines the party’s manifesto pledges, with a section on “Energy & Environment” in which the party pledged to scrap green subsidy programmes and create new fossil fuel and nuclear infrastructure across the UK.12ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT,” Reform UK, March 2024. Archived March 19, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.is/ruemB

The section outlines four key groups of reforms that the party would make in its first 100 days in office, which include: 

  • A pledge to scrap net zero and related subsidies, with the claim that “The public sector is spending billions each year with no accountability or transparency.” 
  • A pledge to scrap renewable energy subsidies with the claim that “Achieve this through equivalent taxes on them. Renewables are not cheaper.” 
  • A pledge to fast-track oil, gas and coal extraction across the country, include fracking, with the claim “This could transform our nations fortunes and ensure prosperity for generations to come.” 
  • A pledge to fast-track new energy technologies, including “clean coal mining,” modular nuclear reactors, without mention of renewables.

January 3, 2024

In a press conference, party leader Richard Tice spoke about Reform UK’s platform ahead of the 2024 general election, including net zero.13Bring On The Election! | Reform UK Press Conference,” YouTube video uploaded by user Reform TV, January 3, 2024. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Tice called for a cut to fuel duty, “thousands” of EU regulations, and to “freeze non-essential immigration”.

He also said the government needs to “scrap” net zero targets, saying:

“We’ve got to scrap the totally job-destroying, trillion pound cost of net zero. Just that alone will make people better off; that alone will ease the cost of living crisis. I talk about the betrayal of Labour against the working class. Net zero every week, every month is destroying thousands of skilled manufacturing jobs – steel jobs, automotive jobs. They’ve [Labour] betrayed their own people. Only Reform UK now is the party of the working class, who will stop mass immigration, who will scrap net zero, who will help solve the cost of living crisis.”

September 20, 2023 

The Reform Party posted a clip of Richard Tice on X (formerly known as Twitter), who called for net zero policies to be scrapped altogether. Tice labelled net zero policies as “the greatest financial negligence that the government has imposed on its people”.14The Conservative Party should go even further and scrap all of net zero. Net zero is the greatest financial negligence that the government has imposed on its people. Only Reform UK will scrap all of net zero,” tweet from user @reformparty_uk, September 20, 2023. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archived October 5, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

Key Quotes

January 10, 2024

On X, the account for Reform UK’s London mayoral candidate Howard Cox posted a graphic reading “DON’T DELAY, JUST SCRAP ALL OF NET ZERO”, alongside the message: “The Conservative Party should go even further and scrap all of net zero. Only Reform UK will scrap all of net zero.”15The Conservative Party should go even further and scrap all of net zero. Only Reform UK will scrap all of net zero.,” X post from user @Cox4London, January 10, 2024. Archived January 10, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/TPuzL

October 1, 2023

Reform UK tweeted a clip from GB News of Richard Tice attacking net zero as “criminally negligent”, referring to net zero policies as “the greatest act of financial self-harm ever imposed on a nation voluntary by its leaders.”16Reform UK. “Richard Tice SLAMS the net zero madness. “They don’t care that net zero is going to make us poorer, they don’t care that it’s going to make us colder… as long as they’re making the cash, that’s fine by them” @GBNews | @TiceRichard,” Post by @reformparty_uk, October 1, 2023. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

He added that: 

“They don’t care that net zero is going to make us poorer, they don’t care that it’s going to make us colder… as long as they’re making the cash, that’s fine by them.”

September 27, 2023

Richard Tice posted “EXCELLENT” on X in response to news that the Rosebank Oil field in the North Sea had been given the go-ahead by UK oil and gas regulators, despite concerns about the greenhouse gas emissions that will be generated by the project.17Richard Tice. “EXCELLENT Major Rosebank oil field given go-ahead by regulator British jobs, British energy & increases energy self reliance rather than importing from overseas,” Post by @TiceRichard, September 27, 2023. Retrieved from X.com. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

September 25, 2023

Dave Holland, Reform UK’s candidate for the October 2023 Mid Bedfordshire by-election, published a campaign article on Reform UK’s website in which he argued that the definition of net zero is “almost anything you want it to mean” and that historic data on the UK’s carbon emissions is a “hoax”.18Dave Holland. “What does net zero mean?,” Dave-holland.co.uk, September 25, 2023. Archived September 25, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/mqv0C 

Holland criticised net zero policies and policymakers, writing:

“I am not convinced that they know what they are doing and I am not confident that their CO2 proposals have any merit nor that they will make even the smallest difference to our climate.”

September 25, 2023 

In a tweet, Richard Tice argued for the government to allow shale gas extraction in the UK, claiming that the carbon emissions from shale gas imported from the US were four times higher than that of gas extracted in the UK.19Richard Tice. “MORE NET ZERO MADNESS Top EU official says US gas needed for decades US Shale gas…..when we have 50 yrs supply here in UK! US gas creates 4* more CO2 than if use our own…. And would keep our jobs & money in UK Net Zero = Net Stupid,” Post by user @TiceRichard, September 25, 2023. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archived October 9, 2023. Archived .png on file at DeSmog.

He pointed to an unsupported claim that the UK has 50 years worth of shale gas, before claiming that “net zero = net stupid”.20Stuart Elliot. “UK commissions study into latest scientific evidence around shale gas,” S&P Global, April 5, 2022. Archived September 22, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/hgNsI

September 24, 2023

Richard Tice claimed that the Conservative Party had been adopting policies advocated for by Reform UK, tweeting that “Reform UK is shaping & influencing as we grow”.21Richard Tice. “Consocialist Tories adopting brilliant @reformparty_uk policies day by day, slowly but surely: 💥HS2 💥Inheritance tax 💥Net Zero Reform UK is shaping & influencing as we grow,” tweet from user @TiceRichard, September 24, 2023. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archived October 5, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ytkqL 

September 17, 2023

In a Reform Party post on X, Richard Tice argued of net zero: “it’s killing our jobs, it’s killing our skills, it’s killing our communities, it’s killing our children’s futures”.22 “We must say no to the net zero madness!! “Net zero… it’s killing our jobs, it’s killing our skills, it’s killing our communities, it’s killing our children’s futures.” WATCH: @TiceRichard on @TalkTV this morning.,” tweet from user @reformparty_uk, September 17, 2023. Retrieved from twitter.com. Archived October 5, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

July 24, 2023

In an interview with Mike Graham on TalkTV, Ann Widdecombe said net zero measures were “disproportionate” and “arbitrary” because the UK contributes “very, very little” in terms of carbon emissions.23Ann Widdecombe BLASTS Net Zero – “We Should Be World Leaders In Common Sense”,” YouTube video uploaded by user TalkTV, July 24, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. She argued that we needed a “complete reappraisal” because climate “scientists aren’t always right” evidenced by a “15 year pause in global warming.” 

July 11, 2023

Appearing on Michelle Dewberry’s show on GB News, Ben Habib said that he would “ditch net zero”, which he labelled the “biggest, most pernicious, regressive tax on the working and middle classes”.24“’Ditch Net Zero’ | Ben Habib on the Tory leadership candidates’ taxation policies,” YouTube video uploaded by user GBNews, July 11, 2022. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

April 18, 2022

The Telegraph reported comments made by Tice that “net zero will be the new Brexit for the Tories” ahead of local elections during the 2022 energy crisis, where he sought to “exploit” divisions within the Conservative party over net zero and energy strategy.25Camilla Turner. “Net zero will be new Brexit for Tories, says Richard Tice,” The Telegraph, April 18, 2022. Archived April 18, 2022. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ITOqN

All 120 Reform candidates standing in the 2022 local elections planned to campaign on the benefits of fracking and opening new North Sea oil and gas wells, according to the Telegraph. 

Tice said: 

“Some Tories in the shires get bamboozled by the green lobby. But most of the members are completely in our camp – cut taxes, go for growth, become self-reliant and use our own shale gas.”

Key People

Actions

June 4, 2024

A DeSmog investigation revealed that Reform UK had accepted more than £2.3 million from oil and gas interests, highly polluting industries, and climate science deniers since December 2019, amounting to 92 percent of the party’s donations.27Adam Barnett and Sam Bright. “Nigel Farage’s Reform Party Has Accepted £2.3 Million from Fossil Fuel Interests, Climate Deniers, and Polluters Since 2019 Election,” DeSmog, June 4, 2024. One day earlier Nigel Farage, founder of Reform UK, announced he was returning as party leader and standing in Clacton-on-sea as MP in the July 4, 2024 general election.

The investigation found that Reform UK had taken £200,000 from First Corporate Consultants, which is owned by Terence Mordaunt, director and former chair of the UK’s most prominent climate denial group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

Jeremy Hosking also donated £500,000 to the Reform UK since December 2019, the proprietor of Hosking Partners, a firm that had over £108 million invested in fossil fuels in 2021.

Reform also accepted £465,000 from Christopher Harborne, owner of AML Global, an aviation fuel supplier with a distribution network that includes “main and regional oil companies”, according to its website.

The largest single donor was Richard Tice, party chairman and leader until June 3rd 2024, who donated £1.1 million to the party. Tisun Investments, a company owned by Tice, lent Reform 50 loans worth £1.4 million since the start of 2020.

In response, a spokeperson for Reform UK said:

“Climate change is real, Reform UK believes we must adapt, rather than foolishly think you can stop it. We are proud to be the only party to understand that economic growth depends on cheap domestic energy and we are proud that we are the only party that are climate science realists, realising you can not stop the power of the sun, volcanoes or sea level oscillation. The deniers are those who continually gaslight the public into thinking you can stop these powerful natural forces. We must use the energy under our feet, rather than send our money and jobs abroad.”

June 4, 2024

A DeSmog report revealed that the seat Nigel Farage was standing in for the July 2024 general election, Clacton-on-Sea, was threatened by rising sea levels and annual flooding due to climate change, with regular flooding predicted as early as 2030. 28Sam Bright and Adam Barnett. “Climate Denier Nigel Farage Standing in Seat at Risk of Sea Level Rises and Flooding,” DeSmog, June 4, 2024.

​​May 25, 2024

Reform UK withdrew more than 100 parliamentary candidates from running before the announcement of the July 2024 election, many of whom were removed for having made racist comments, according to a report from Yahoo News.29Lucy Jackson. “Reform UK removes more than 100 General Election candidates since January – analysis,” Yahoo News, May 25, 2024. Archive May 25, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.is/is8jD

April 4, 2024

Reform UK withdrew two of its candidates for the July 2024 general election amongst accusations of racism and religious hate, according to findings from the campaign group Hope Not Hate.30Reform UK drops candidates over alleged racist comments,” BBC News, April 4, 2024. Archived June 17, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.is/upnMl

In their announcement that the candidates had been removed, a spokesperson for Reform UK said:

“We want to make it crystal clear that while we defend our candidates’ right to freedom of speech vigorously, we act fast when we find that individuals’ statements fall beneath our standards. Labour and Conservatives also have candidates that make statements that fall below acceptable standards, but we move faster than others in acting decisively.”

March 11, 2024

Former Conservative Party Deputy Chairman and MP Lee Anderson defected to Reform UK, giving the party its first MP in the 2019-2024 parliament, according to a report by the Financial Times.31Lucy Fisher and George Parker. “Ex-Tory MP Lee Anderson defects to Reform UK,” Financial Times, March 11, 2024. Archived June 17, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.is/GAPnd

In 2023, Anderson reportedly said to a group of Conservative activists in Cambridgeshire “Now there is a political party that begins with an R that offered me a lot of money to join them. I say a lot of money, I mean a lot of money,” which Reform UK has since denied.32Aletha Adu. “Reform UK leader says party has not offered Tory MPs money to defect,” The Guardian, November 26, 2023. Archived January 17, 2024. Archive URL: https://archive.is/zHBdB

November 17, 2023

DeSmog reported that Reform UK had received £135,000 this year from donors linked to climate science denial and fossil fuel investments.33Adam Barnett. “Nigel Farage’s Reform Party Took £135,000 from Climate Science Deniers and Fossil Fuel Interests,” DeSmog, November 17, 2023.

Official records show that all donations made to Reform UK from January to mid-November 2023 were from individuals with ties to climate science denial or fossil fuel interests.34Donations,” The Electoral Commission. Archived November 17, 2023. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

Donors registered include: a firm owned by Terence Mordaunt, a director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the UK’s leading climate science denial group; political donor Jeremy Hosking, who has millions invested in fossil fuels; and a property investment firm whose chairman has defended those who question whether “global warming is happening”.

October 7, 2023

Ben Habib, a former Brexit Party MEP, was announced as the new deputy party leader of Reform UK at the party’s annual party conference.35NEW At yesterday’s conference, Ben Habib was announced as the party’s joint deputy leader, joining Dr David Bull.,” tweet from user @reformparty_uk, October 8, 2023. Archived October 9, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/rN7Ub

September 21, 2023

Howard Cox, the head of motoring campaign group Fair Fuel UK and Reform UK candidate for Mayor of London, wrote an op-ed in the Express titled: “Net Zero was always economic suicide, now let’s scrap the rest of it”.36Howard Cox. “Net Zero was always economic suicide, now let’s scrap the rest of it,” Express, September 21, 2023. Archived October 4, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/Jgcyf 

Referring to the government’s policy to ban the sale of petrol- and diesel-fuelled cars by 2030, Cox wrote that “the 2030 deadline was and always would be political suicide to any elected Government, and only backed by the brainwashed tree huggers”.

Cox added that the government should scrap the ban entirely, and should instead “incentivise the move to clean fuels by motivating industry and entrepreneurs to develop [these] technologies”.

May 9, 2023

Howard Cox announced he would be running to become the Mayor of London as a Reform UK candidate.37Ryan Sabey. “Drivers hero takes on Sadiq Khan to be London Mayor – vowing to ditch hated ULEZ and keep fuel duty taxes down,” The Sun, May 9, 2023. Archived July 28, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/ZVWsV

Cox’s platform included promises to completely remove low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs)38Phoebe Cooke. “How Politicians and Lobby Groups Tried — And Failed — To Co-opt Legitimate Concerns Over Low Traffic Neighbourhoods,” DeSmog, August 18, 2021. – which have been a popular target of climate science deniers – and the Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) from London. 39Adam Barnett, Christopher Deane and Michaela Herrmann. “Revealed: The Science Denial Network Behind Oxford’s ‘Climate Lockdown’ Backlash,” DeSmog, February 16, 2023.

December 8, 2022

Reform UK ran a campaign advert on YouTube about net zero, which it claims “is making us colder and poorer,” and was a “net killer”.40Net Zero means we’ll be Net Poorer and Net Colder this winter,” Youtube video by user ReformTV, uploaded December 8, 2023. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

March 6, 2022

Reform UK leader Richard Tice announced that he and Nigel Farage were launching a “national debate and referendum” on the government’s net zero policies, claiming that they would “impoverish [the] U.K., send our jobs & money overseas” and that “Old [people] will die colder poorer sooner” and “Young [people] will be burdened higher costs, fewer jobs, less money”.41Richard Tice. “VOTE POWER NOT POVERTY: today we are launching cross party campaign for national debate and referendum on Govt Net Zero pans that will impoverish U.K., send our jobs & money overseas. Old will die colder poorer sooner Young will be burdened higher costs, fewer jobs, less money,” tweet from user @TiceRichard, March 6, 2022. Retrieved from Twitter.com. Archived October 5, 2023. Archive URL: https://archive.ph/448Vn

The pair launched a new group alongside the referendum, named Vote Power Not Poverty, and changed the Leave Means Leave Twitter account name to Vote Power Not Poverty.42Adam Barnett and Michaela Herrmann. “Mapped: How the Net Zero Backlash is Tied to Climate Denial – and Brexit,” DeSmog, March 18, 2022.

December 7, 2020

Farage stated that his new party, Reform UK, would recruit candidates to stand against “any and every” politician who backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s 10-point plan for a ‘Green Industrial Revolution,’ Breitbart reported. Farage also reportedly described Johnson’s policies to convert streets into cul-de-sacs as “madness”, and an opportunity for the government to “virtue-signal and show off its eco-credentials”.43Kurt Zindulka. “Nigel Farage to Field Reform Party Candidates Against BOJO’s Anti-Car ‘Madness,’” Breitbart, December 7, 2020. Archived December 8, 2020. Archive URL: https://archive.vn/lFViz

  • GB News – Farage, Tice, Anderson and Phillips are presenters.
  • TalkTV – Tice was a presenter until October 2023.
  • Leave Means Leave – Richard Tice, founder.
  • Leave.EU – Richard Tice, founder.
  • Conservative Party – Lee Anderson is a former Conservative MP and deputy chairman, and Ann Widdecombe is former Conservative minister. Tice was also a long-time donor to the Conservative Party, and Farage is a former party member.

Contact & Address

Reform UK
83 Victoria Street, London
SW1H 0HW, United Kingdom
0800 414 8525

Social Media

Resources

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