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Another ballot reveals Reform assist at new excessive degree with the Tories

Support for Reform hit a new high today as a new poll put the party level with the Tories – as leader Nigel Farage unveiled an election manifesto featuring eyewatering spending plans.

Reform are up a point with Redfield & Wilton Strategies tonight, alongside the Tories on 18 per cent, a full 25 points behind Labour.

It is the latest poll to show Reform either level or above the Conservatives and came as Mr Farage set out its election plans.

He claimed he would move to ‘stop the boats’ within 100 days as he launched Reform’s ‘contract’ with voters.

The former MEP complained that the country was ‘broken’ as he unveiled the election prospectus – conceding at the same time that he will never be able to implement it.

The document includes commitments to slash £50billion off public spending, leave the European Court of Human Rights, and ban all ‘non-essential’ immigration. It suggests that moves to ‘stop the boats’ – including sending migrants back to France – would start within 100 days.

Along with stripping the Bank of England of key powers, those policies are meant to fund an extraordinary £140billion splurge, largely on tax cuts, the NHS and defence spending.

However, the respected IFS think-tank said the plans ‘do not add up’ – with tax cuts reducing revenue by more than the party claims, and savings not generating as much revenue.

Nigel Farage insisted he wants to be PM by 2029 today as he launched Reform’s manifesto

At the same time today Rishi Sunak was forced to step in and insist the Tories can still win the election – after one of his senior ministers all-but conceded on a live round of interviews. 

Defence Secretary Grant Shapps admitted that the Tories are set to lose the election after a huge poll showed he could be among a swathe of high-profile casualties.

The Defence Secretary said he was a ‘realist’ about the party’s prospects as he renewed pleas for voters not to gift Labour a ‘supermajority’.

The latest research by Survation, released over the weekend and using the so-called MRP technique, indicated that the Conservatives could be reduced to just 72 MPs on July 4.

Rishi Sunak was forced to step in and insist the Tories can still win the election - after one of his senior ministers all-but conceded on a live round of interviews. Pictured: The Prime Minister arrived in Cambridge on Monday on his campaign trail

Rishi Sunak was forced to step in and insist the Tories can still win the election – after one of his senior ministers all-but conceded on a live round of interviews. Pictured: The Prime Minister arrived in Cambridge on Monday on his campaign trail

New polls suggest that Keir Starmer could win by an incredible margin of 262, with Reform picking up seven MPs - and the Conservatives reduced to just 72

New polls suggest that Keir Starmer could win by an incredible margin of 262, with Reform picking up seven MPs – and the Conservatives reduced to just 72

In it to win it: Rishi Sunak declared today: 'I'm fighting hard for every vote because I believe we can win'

In it to win it: Rishi Sunak declared today: ‘I’m fighting hard for every vote because I believe we can win’

Gathering support: The Prime Minister believes all is not over for the Tories in the General Election

Gathering support: The Prime Minister believes all is not over for the Tories in the General Election

Down with the youth: Mr Sunak was all smiles as he crouched down for a youngster in the crowd during a visit to Cambridge Rugby Club

Down with the youth: Mr Sunak was all smiles as he crouched down for a youngster in the crowd during a visit to Cambridge Rugby Club

It suggested that Keir Starmer could win by an incredible margin of 262, with Reform picking up seven MPs.

Home Secretary James Cleverly was projected to lose his Braintree seat, while Chancellor Jeremy Hunt would fall victim to the Lib Dems in Godalming and Ash.

Election experts have warning that previously ultra-safe seats are under threat as the party’s core vote is collapsing – comparing it to Churchill’s defeat at the 1945 election. 

No kidding: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak helps children feed the goats on a visit to Great Wood Farm Early Years Centre in Grantham, East Midlands on Monday

No kidding: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak helps children feed the goats on a visit to Great Wood Farm Early Years Centre in Grantham, East Midlands on Monday

Young minds: The Prime Minister was out campaigning in East Midlands on Monday afternoon

Young minds: The Prime Minister was out campaigning in East Midlands on Monday afternoon

Rishi Sunak was seen speaking to youngsters in the East Midlands as polls predicted the Conservatives could face a huge loss of MPs at the General Election

Rishi Sunak was seen speaking to youngsters in the East Midlands as polls predicted the Conservatives could face a huge loss of MPs at the General Election

But the PM slapped down Mr Shapps on a visit to a gas rig in the North Sea, insisting the party is ‘on the right track’.

‘There’s still two-and-a-half weeks to go in this election, I’m fighting hard for every vote because I believe we can win,’ he told reporters.

James Cleverly
Jeremy Hunt

Home Secretary James Cleverly (left) was projected to lose his Braintree seat, while Chancellor Jeremy Hunt (right) would fall victim to the Lib Dems in Godalming and Ash

Reform’s big day got off to a shaky start with deputy leader David Bull wrongly claiming that the Office for Budget Responsibility watchdog has signed off its spending plans. 

The document was unveiled in Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, as Reform tries to show that it is taking on Labour as well as the Tories.

Mr Farage said the location was chosen ‘because it shows everyone exactly what happens to a country when Labour is in charge’. He said Wales had drifted in a ‘leftist, woke direction’. 

Underlining his pitch to voters, Mr Farage said: ‘You might not want to vote for what we say. But we do say what we mean.’ 

He added: ‘We are not pretending that we are going to win this General Election, we are a very, very new political party.’

He added: ‘This is not something with which we’re going to govern the country. That’s not possible in this election.

‘Although this election is for our party, and for me, the first important step on the road to 2029.

‘Our ambition is to establish a bridgehead in Parliament, and to become a real opposition to a Labour government.’

He said the Tories would not be able to provide opposition because ‘they spend most of their days arguing among themselves, and they’re split down the middle when it comes to policy’.

Mr Farage said there needs to be a ‘rethink’ on the NHS, saying: ‘We’re not getting bang for our buck and there’s a growing level of disenchantment that the health service simply isn’t fit for purpose not just in the way that it used to be, the way that we want it to be.

‘So let’s look at other funding models, let’s look at how the French do it, let’s be radical in our thinking.’

Mr Farage said the UK is ‘skint’ and ‘in real trouble’ as he suggested having a ‘slimmed down public sector’ while maintaining services.

On whether his party’s spending pledges would result in cuts to public services, Mr Farage said: ‘Well cuts to the public sector, I mean, frankly, they’re never in the office anyway are they? It’s work from home, pop into Whitehall a couple of days a week.’

He added: ‘If you’re running a company and things are tight, you say to your managers and middle managers, ‘Right, I’m sorry, this is the way it is, you’ve got to cut £5 in £100′ – in fact in tough times it might be £10 in £100 or £20 in £100, and you have to find a way of doing that without affecting the product that we’re selling to the public.’

Mr Farage added: ‘Some of these things we’re proposing are tough but, look, the accumulated national debt is now £2.7trillion, it was just under £1trillion when the Tories came to power, we simply cannot go on like this.

‘We’re skint. Who else would dare say that in this campaign? We’re skint, we’re in real trouble and the nonsense of economic argument we hear from Rachel Reeves and Jeremy Hunt never acknowledges the fact that both of them expected to be in deficit next year by yet another £100billion.

The Prime Minister tried to inject optimism into the Tory campaign today on his return to the fray following the G7 meeting in Italy.

The Prime Minister tried to inject optimism into the Tory campaign today on his return to the fray following the G7 meeting in Italy.

Grant Shapps said he was a 'realist' about Tory prospects as he renewed pleas for voters not to gift Labour a 'supermajority'.

Grant Shapps said he was a ‘realist’ about Tory prospects as he renewed pleas for voters not to gift Labour a ‘supermajority’.

‘So we’re saying let’s face reality, we have to have a slimmed down public sector, we have to do that whilst maintaining services.’

Mr Farage said the immigration-fuelled ‘population explosion’ should be the ‘dominant issue’ at the election.

The Reform ‘contract’ describes four steps they would begin taking in the first 100 days of being in government. 

‘Leave the European Convention on Human Rights. Zero illegal immigrants to be resettled in the UK. New Department of Immigration. Pick up illegal migrants out of boats and take them back to France,’ the document says.

There is a six month notification period for leaving the ECHR, and the Article 50 Brexit case suggests the government would need to pass a law to trigger exiting the treaty. 

Cabinet minister Michael Gove said the idea of Mr Farage being PM was ‘ridiculous’, branding Reform ‘a giant ego trip’.