Reform UK candidate on why young people back Nigel Farage | Politics | News


Angela Rayner and rival

Robert Barrowcliffe is the young Reform UK firebrand taking on Angela Rayner (Image: GETTY/REFORM)

Nigel Farage is “incredibly popular” with young people because he “speaks common sense”, Reform UK’s candidate in Ashton-under-Lyne has told the Express.

Robert Barrowcliffe, 25, is standing against the deputy Labour leader in the Greater Manchester constituency and believes he is in with a shot at ousting her.

He said: “People are disillusioned with politics, especially in Ashton-under-Lyne where it is presumed to be a safe Labour seat.

“People do not bother to go out and vote because they know it will be Labour anyway. But this time around, Ashton is completely winnable for the Reform party.”

Wrestler-turned-politician Mr Barrowcliffe suggested traditional Labour voters were prepared to lend their vote to Reform UK because Sir Keir Starmer’s party had abandoned its core values.

He said: “We are seeing many old Labourites now coming over to Reform because Labour is no longer the party of the working man.”

His comments mirror those of Workers Party of Britain candidate Aroma Hassan who told the Express Sir Keir “does not understand us”.

Reform UK candidate Robert Barrowcliffe in Ashton under lyne

Reform UK candidate Robert Barrowcliffe says Nigel Farage is appealing to young people (Image: REFORM)

She said: “He does not represent us. And therefore he cannot possibly speak for us.”

New polling published in the Independent today showed those aged between 18 and 34 were feeling disillusioned with all the main political parties.

Roughly four in 10 (41%) aged 18 to 34 have either not registered to vote (24%) or are registered but have decided not to go and vote on July 4 (17%), according to research by pollster Techne.

However, in what is perhaps a surprising phenomenon, Reform UK appears to be gaining support among young people, with Mr Farage targeting social media platform TikTok to get his message out.

The Brexit mastermind’s videos wrack up millions of views and likes on the Chinese-owned video-sharing app – and his account has almost 800,000 followers.

Mr Barrowcliffe conceded most students were still more likely to back left-wing parties but suggested some young people were now starting to go against the grain.

He said: “Most students will vote left-wing. But these days we are seeing a rebellion against that.

“Especially from young lads and it is visible on TikTok and at gyms and sports pitches.

“They are tired of being lied to, young girls too. People are fed up. They see we have no future in this country.

“We get no support. And Labour pays lip service to this and capitalised on this sentiment.

“But those who are clued up are disillusioned with Labour and Conservative and want to vote differently.”

Asked why he thought people his age were turning to Reform UK, Mr Barrowcliffe suggested a return to more traditional values was driving the trend.

He said: “Nigel Farage is incredibly popular especially with us young lads because he speaks common sense.

“But it is more than that. We want to go out and work. We have a desire to raise a family.

“We want to have a well paid job. We want to have good wages. We want a normal life! It is not much more than that.”

Ashton Town Hall

Ashton Town Hall is getting a revamp (Image: KENNY BROWN)

But he contended it was increasingly difficult for young people to achieve their aspirations because “wages were not good enough”.

He said: “Our towns are dying. Who wants to raise children in Ashton-under-Lyne?”

And he claimed this was part of the reason Generation Z were engaging with Nigel Farage.

He went on to argue because the area was a heavily Leave-backing area (62% there voted for Brexit) Mr Farage’s revamped Brexit Party resonated with locals.

He said: “Around here, Brexit was not necessarily about the Customs Union or reasserting control over our own sovereignty, although these were major elements.

“I do believe it was partly due to immigration because the numbers are insane and the system cannot cope with the strain it causes on the NHS and the fact young people cannot get a well-paid job.

“But ultimately, I believe people voted for Brexit in Ashton because of the disillusionment with our political establishment – and it was a big ‘double fingers up’ to the establishment.”

At the time of writing, Mr Farage’s party was polling at about 22% in Ashton ahead of the Tories at 12.7% while Ms Rayner’s Labour was at about 56%.

The Green Party was on about 6% and the Lib Dems at 3%.

Mr Barrowcliffe suggested George Galloway’s Workers Party of Britain would eat into the lefter-leaning of Ms Rayner’s vote share.

Ashton town centre

Ashton town centre (Image: MEN)

He said: “They are going to take votes away from Angela Rayner. So we have a good chance.”

The would-be Reform UK MP explained Tameside had been Labour-run since before he was born.

He said: “I can’t remember a time when we did not have a Labour MP and a Labour-run council. We only have two councillors who are not Labour.”

But he went on to suggest a complacency had begun to creep in.

He said: “It says a lot about Angela Rayner that on her ‘About Me’ page on the Labour website, there is not one word on there about what she’s done for Ashton and the surrounding towns.”

Angela Rayner was contacted for comment.



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