11 January 2021 | UK NEWS
Reform UK expanded its aims for representation this morning, when it announced that it would be standing in the upcoming Scottish elections.
Reform UK Chairman Richard Tice also announced that Michelle Ballantyne, currently sitting as an independent member of the Scottish Parliament, would lead the party into the next Holyrood elections.
Ms Ballantyne resigned the Scottish Conservatives whip last November over policy disagreements, and had been sitting as an independent MSP since then until today.
Nigel Farage, the party’s leader, said he was “delighted” that Michelle Ballantyne had joined the party and that he hoped she would indeed lead them into the next Scottish elections, although he does not believe they will take place on schedule due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement of the Scottish wing of the party marks the second major milestone for Reform UK recently, after the Electoral Commission confirmed the name change from the Brexit Party to Reform UK.
During the unveiling, Ms Ballantyne announced that the party will be running on a pro-union platform to challenge the ruling SNP’s nationalist agenda. She said: “We are pro-Scotland and pro-the UK, because we believe it is simply the best choice for the people of these islands.
“Why? Because it is the most successful union ever created.
“It has served us well for over 300 years and never so well as in the last few months, as the combined power of the Union has brought us financial aid and the first and fastest vaccination programme in Europe.”
She went on to say that nationalists and unionists must come together in “their shared goal of rebuilding Scotland” after the pandemic.
Ms Ballantyne also announced that the party would push for the reopening of the economy and schools following the pandemic. She stated that she was a supporter of the Great Barrington Declaration as an alternative to lockdowns.
The party would stand on the protection of “thought, speech and worship”, she added.
On the economic side of the party, Ms Ballantyne said: “We have to build the wealth-creating sector of Scotland. That means creating an environment that attracts and encourages entrepreneurs.”
When asked about how the party will approach the issue of fishing since the deal with the EU, which many in the fishing community have criticised, she said that she was “disappointed by the deal”, but we should not be too “downhearted” since there will be opportunities to change the future quotas it outlines.
Reform UK is also seeking local councillor candidates to stand in the next council elections across the country.
The full announcement from the party, which aired at 11am, can be watched here: