Boris Johnson should ‘stand up’ to EU says Richard Tice
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Mr Tice, of Reform UK, has refuted Metro Bank’s claims that the party’s bank account was suspended as it was “no longer commercially viable”. Speaking at a press conference in Westminster, Mr Tice, 56, told journalists the suspension of the party’s bank account was a politically motivated act.
The former MEP claims: “This is without question, in my mind, the result of political pressure.”
“We’ve got big plans and the bank should be reassured after all we are regulated and monitored and supervised by the Electoral Commission to ensure we are squeaky clean,” he added.
Mr Tice, who spent years as a businessman before joining the political frontline, also claimed he had “never once” encountered a similar experience during his business career.
If Reform UK cannot restore a similar banking arrangement, then the leader stressed it could jeopardise his party’s political ambitions.
“If we can’t have clearing bank facilities, we can’t pay bills and therefore we can’t stand candidates,” Mr Tice claimed.
Despite his suggestion that this was politically motivated, he did not provide any evidence to support such claims.
Metro Bank maintains the decision to terminate Reform UK’s bank account was not politically motivated.
When asked who was applying this political pressure, the Reform Party leader replied: “I wish I knew, I have no idea.
“But it is so extraordinary, so unprecedented, so unusual.”
Mr Tice later claimed: “Someone, somewhere, somehow has applied pressure.”
Despite his comments, Metro Bank maintains that this was not a politically motivated act.
A spokesperson from the bank told Express.co.uk: “We regularly review our customer accounts and close those which are no longer commercially viable. The decision to close the Brexit Party account was made for commercial reasons only as a business as usual decision. Metro Bank is and will remain politically neutral.”
Mr Tice was asked if he had any evidence to support his claims, he replied: “No, I just know from my experience being involved in so many banking arrangements over such a long period of time that this doesn’t happen, this is not normal.”
Reform UK relaunched out of the embers of the Brexit Party earlier this year and has provided stern opposition to the Conservative Government’s Covid strategy.
Mr Tice, who founded pro-Brexit campaign groups Leave.EU and Leave Means Leave, implied this opposition could explain why the bank suspended the party’s account.
“Is it a coincidence”, he claimed, “that Reform UK is the only political party that is challenging this Government to give all our freedoms back after the pandemic, the only political party that is challenging this Government on its authoritarian plan to have vaccine passports, the only political party that is challenging this Government on its plans to vaccinate children.”
The former MEP for the East of England refused to confirm whether he believes the Conservative Party are behind the move.
Instead, Mr Tice said: “I don’t know who it is, it may not be the Conservative Party, but let me be clear, given that our economic plan is clearly what would naturally be a conservative plan as people focus on the next general election.”
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After calling the Tories the “con socialists” and warning the Government were about to introduce “austerity mark 2”, Mr Tice claimed: “We are the only party that will stand on a platform of cutting taxes for the least well off, for smaller businesses and the self-employed, the only party that will stand against this Government’s mad-plan to ban all of our boilers.”
The ex-Tory Party donor then stressed his party will take a majority of its votes from Boris Johnson’s party in any future electoral contests.
“If we take support from the Tories, then all of a sudden that [Conservative] gap [over Labour] closes,” he warned.
When quizzed on Reform UK’s strategy in the upcoming general election, the party leader said the party already has 200 candidates ready and added that they intend to stand candidates in over 500 constituencies.
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