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Reform UK Tones Down Culture War Rhetoric And Targets Tory Voters

Reform UK

Reform UK tones down culture war rhetoric and targets Tory voters

Reform UK, the rebranded Brexit party, plans to focus less on culture war issues and instead try to attract disenchanted Conservatives with more weighty policy offerings based on the cost of living and healthcare, its leader has said.

Richard Tice, a property developer and Brexit campaigner who took over from Nigel Farage as leader in March, promised to field at least 600 candidates in the next general election, saying half had already been chosen.

In the 2019 election the then Brexit party stood down in hundreds of Tory-held seats, but under Tice it will very clearly target what he now calls “the party of high taxes and high regulation”.

Speaking to the Guardian before the party’s conference on Sunday, Tice said it would not be unfair even to argue he has more in common with Keir Starmer than Boris Johnson. “I don’t think it is, actually. I’ve never met Keir, but I think you can tell we both care about people. Boris only cares about Boris.”

The Reform UK conference, while low in profile, carries potentially significant political resonance for several reasons, not least in shaping the future of a party that won the 2019 European elections but then slipped into near obscurity.

In this year’s council elections, the party won two seats. “Knocking on doors, the majority of people hadn’t heard of us,” Tice admitted, but polls now put Reform UK at up to 5%.

The conference will hear policy announcements in areas including healthcare, tax and the environment, plus one that Tice promised would have “a big, unexpected wow factor”.

He said this would mark the end of a period in which his party has often gained attention by focusing on the culture wars and associated issues, including opposition to lockdown and a semi-alliance with Laurence Fox, the outspoken actor turned London mayoral candidate.

“Yes, we get irritated by what we call the woke stuff, and I think it does irritate millions of people,” Tice said. “But what affects people’s daily lives are the policies I’ve talked about, and the election will be fought on those things. We are deadly serious about this.”

Also significant is Reform UK’s resolute opposition to Johnson’s Conservatives, to the extent of holding its conference in Manchester on the same day that the Tory conference opens in the same city. “That was my idea, to really wind them up, which I think it has successfully done,” Tice said. “We’re starting to get abused by Conservatives, which is always a good sign.”

Another notable element of the post-Farage Reform UK is that while critical of Johnsonism, it mimics his pick-and-mix approach to policies from the left and right. Thus, while Tice would propose significant cuts to income and business taxes, these would be aimed only at lower-paid people and smaller firms. Any revenue gap, which Tice argues would be temporary, would be plugged not by spending cuts but by increased borrowing.

“Everybody’s got their knickers in a twist about the national debt,” he said. “There’s no reason to be so worried about it.”

Similarly, while Tice is critical of the government’s net-zero plans, he does not overtly deny the climate science and would like to see the government offer 100% loans for people to fit domestic solar panels.

While Tice is careful to not dismiss Farage, to whom he still regularly speaks, it is clear this is a changed approach from a leader now best known for making videos about refugees landing in Dover. “Correct,” Tice said when asked if it was a new era for the party. “This is Reform UK under my leadership, and these policies are driven by my focus.”

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Ondo Govt reacts to court judgement declaring new LCDAs ‘illegal’

The Ondo State Government says necessary legal action will be taken on the judgement nullifying the creation of the 33 Local Council Development Areas (LCDAs) in the state.

The government’s reaction is contained in a statement by the Attorney General of Ondo State, Mr Kayode Ajulo SAN, made available to  newsmen on Friday in Akure.

Justice A.O Adebusuoye of the state High Court had in a judgement on Thursday described the creation of the LCDAs as unlawful.

The court said it was illegal for a governor to sign a law outside the State.

The court said that the Local Government Creation Law 2023 signed by the late Governor Rotimi Akeredolu in Ibadan was unconstitutional, illegal, null and void.

The statement said the government has taken cognizance of Ondo State High Court’s judgement and had requested for a Certified True Copy of it.

Ajulo said after it was studied and analysed, a legal opinion would be presented to the state government.

“Subsequently, all necessary measures, in accordance with our laws, will be taken to safeguard the interests of our citizens, foster peaceful coexistence, and uphold the rule of law.

“The Attorney General remains steadfast in his commitment to prioritizing the well-being and welfare of our citizens, working tirelessly to ensure that justice and the law are served,” the statement said.

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LASTMA impounds 40 vehicles in Oyingbo, ijora, idumota axis

The  Lagos State Traffic Management Authority (LASTMA) has impounded another 25 commercial and 15 private vehicles operating illegal garages and causing serious road obstructions around Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota areas of  Lagos.

Mr Taofiq Adebayo, Director, Public Affairs and Enlightenment Department of LASTMA, said this in a statement on Friday in Lagos.

Adebayo said impounding the vehicles at these areas was a decisive move by LASTMA to restore order and ensure the free flow of traffic.

He said the operation was led by LASTMA Head of Enforcement, Mr Kayode Odunuga, under the directives of the Special Adviser to the Governor on Transportation, Mr Sola Giwa.

Adebayo that they were specifically directed to target illegal garages that had been a persistent source of congestion and inconvenience for residents and commuters.

He said the impoundment, which began in recent weeks, was part of a broader initiative by the  Lagos State Government to enhance the efficiency of the city’s transportation network.

He quoted Giwa as emphasising that government is committed to maintaining law and order on the roads, ensuring that all traffic regulations are strictly enforced.

“illegal garages have been a significant challenge in our quest to maintain a seamless traffic flow in Lagos.

“These impoundments send a strong message to all offenders that the state will not tolerate activities that disrupt public order and endanger the lives of our citizens.

“Our goal is to create a safe and orderly environment for all road users and this action is a crucial step in that direction,” Giwa said.

He noted that the targeted areas, Oyingbo, Ijora, and Idumota, are known hotspots for traffic congestion due to unauthorised parking and the establishment of makeshift garages.

He said that these activities not only obstruct the free movement of vehicles but also pose safety risks to pedestrians.

“LASTMA’s intervention aims to clear these bottlenecks and enhance the overall traffic situation in these critical areas.

“Residents and business owners have expressed their support for the government’s action, noting the positive impact it will have on their daily activities.

“LASTMA has also assured the public that the operation will be sustained and extended to other parts of the city where illegal garages and related activities are prevalent,” he quoted Giwa as saying.

He urged all vehicle owners and operators to adhere to the state’s traffic regulations and cooperate with authorities to avoid sanctions.

He reiterated that the government’s primary objective was to create a better and more livable Lagos for everyone.

He also urged motorists to take ownership of the roads and to promptly inform LASTMA of any broken down or abandoned trailers or trucks via the Agency’s hotlines: 0810056586008129928503.

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Emir of Ilorin commiserates with Saraki over mother’s death

Nigeria in very bad shape, only PDP can rebuild it —Saraki

Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, has commiserated with a former Senate President,  Dr Bukola Saraki, over the death of his mother, Mrs Florence Saraki.

This is contained in a condolence message issued by the emir’s Spokesman, Mallam Abdulazeez Arowona, on Wednesday in Ilorin.

Mrs Saraki died on Tuesday at the age of 89.

Sulu-Gambari described the deceased as a wonderful mother, great philanthropist and virtuous wife to  Dr Olusola Saraki, the late Waziri of Ilorin, whose contributions to humanity would forever be remembered.

According to him, the deceased lived a fulfilled life, with numerous accomplishments.

The royal father urged Saraki, a two-term governor of Kwara, and his siblings to be strong in heart over the demise of their beloved mother.

Sulu-Gambari, who is also the Chairman of Kwara Traditional Rulers’ Council, extended his condolences to both the immediate and extended family members of the Saraki dynasty.

“I pray that Almighty Allah grants the family and friends the fortitude to bear the great loss,” he said.

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