Nigel Farage says he will not stand in UK general election

<span>Nigel Farage said he would not be among the Reform party candidates in the general election.</span><span>Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP</span>
Nigel Farage said he would not be among the Reform party candidates in the general election.Photograph: Alex Brandon/AP

Nigel Farage has said he will not stand in the UK general election, instead focusing his efforts on getting Donald Trump re-elected in the US.

The Reform party is expected to launch its campaign on Thursday morning with candidates in all constituencies, but the former Brexit party leader said he would not be among them.

Farage said the US election on 5 November had “global significance” and that he intended “to help with the grassroots campaign in the USA in any way I can”. The 2024 election would have been Farage’s eighth attempt to enter parliament had he chosen to stand.

Farage, who is a presenter on the rightwing news channel GB News, said he would “do my bit to help” Reform’s campaign, which will be led by Richard Tice and Lee Anderson, who defected from the Conservative party in March. Reform is polling at about 11% and has said it will stand candidates in every seat, including against Conservatives.

“I will do my bit to help in the campaign, but it is not the right time for me to go any further than that,” Farage said in a statement on X.

“The choice between Labour and the Conservatives is uninspiring, and only Reform have the radical agenda that is needed to end decline in this country.”

Farage has previously stood for election to parliament as the leader of Ukip but in recent years has become far more focused on speaking in the US and supporting Trump.

“Important though the general election is, the contest in the United States of America on 5 November has huge global significance,” Farage said in his statement.

“A strong America as a close ally is vital for our peace and security. I intend to help with the grassroots campaign in the USA in any way that I can.”

Reform has made a strong showing in polls and in recent byelection results, but recent analysis for More in Common suggests it is Farage, not Tice, who is attracting voters. The polling also showed that the single issue of immigration was why people supported Reform. A quarter of Reform voters back the party out of support for Farage, while only 7% are doing so to support Tice.

Related: Reform UK reliant on leader Richard Tice for 80% of funding since 2021

Reform is ultimately owned by Farage, but electoral and corporate filings show it has been mainly bankrolled by Tice, who has contributed about 80% of its declared funding in loans and donations since he took over in 2021.

Tice told an audience this month that it would not be easy to run an effective ground campaign, saying Reform was spending “less than £1.5m a year” compared with the £35m allowed for each party nationally and likely to be spent by the Conservatives and Labour in the year before an election.

Tice has said he had so far picked about 450 candidates for the general election, although Reform managed to contest only 323 seats at the most recent council elections.