Waltham Forest Echo

Waltham Forest Echo

Former Brexit Party running for election in Waltham Forest

The borough's Conservative leader insists he is not worried about the party splitting the right-wing vote

Hero for Former Brexit Party running for election in Waltham Forest
Matt Davis, former Conservative councillor, is now running for Reform UK (credit: Matt Davis)

Reform UK, once known as the Brexit Party, is hoping to win three council seats in next month's local election.Reform UK, once known as the Brexit Party, is hoping to win three council seats in next month's local election.

The right-wing populist party did not run in the last local election but, in the 2019 general election, put forward two candidates in the borough, who netted more than 700 votes each.The right-wing populist party did not run in the last local election but, in the 2019 general election, put forward two candidates in the borough, who netted more than 700 votes each.

Last month, rumours suggested the party was looking to run in Conservative strongholds in the north of the borough, seeking to capitalise off anger at the Tory government.Last month, rumours suggested the party was looking to run in Conservative strongholds in the north of the borough, seeking to capitalise off anger at the Tory government.

The party has since formally nominated candidates in Chingford Green and Endlebury - both firmly Conservative at the last election - and in Larkswood, where the most popular Labour candidate lost by a margin of only around 500 votes.The party has since formally nominated candidates in Chingford Green and Endlebury - both firmly Conservative at the last election - and in Larkswood, where the most popular Labour candidate lost by a margin of only around 500 votes.

Despite this, current Conservative group leader Tim James insists he is not concerned by Reform's decision to run.Despite this, current Conservative group leader Tim James insists he is not concerned by Reform's decision to run.

He told the Echo: "Everyone is allowed to stand wherever they want. It's a shame they're running against us but I think we will win, when push comes to shove.He told the Echo: "Everyone is allowed to stand wherever they want. It's a shame they're running against us but I think we will win, when push comes to shove.

"Local elections are about very different issues, compared to national elections. We're focusing on those local issues, like the cleanliness of our streets.""Local elections are about very different issues, compared to national elections. We're focusing on those local issues, like the cleanliness of our streets."

The party's candidate in Chingford Green, 59-year-old Matt Davis, is a former Conservative councillor and is appealing to Tory voters who are “unhappy with the party” to give him one of their votes.The party's candidate in Chingford Green, 59-year-old Matt Davis, is a former Conservative councillor and is appealing to Tory voters who are “unhappy with the party” to give him one of their votes.

From 2002 to 2018, Matt balanced being a Conservative councillor with his work as manager for Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, best known for her 1983 hit Total Eclipse of the Heart.From 2002 to 2018, Matt balanced being a Conservative councillor with his work as manager for Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, best known for her 1983 hit Total Eclipse of the Heart.

Describing himself as a "spokesman" for Reform UK locally, he described its policies as “economically conservative and socially liberal”, manifesting in low taxes and limited public spending.Describing himself as a "spokesman" for Reform UK locally, he described its policies as “economically conservative and socially liberal”, manifesting in low taxes and limited public spending.

If elected, he says his top priority would be to use his 16 years experience as a local politician to "protect" Chingford Green.If elected, he says his top priority would be to use his 16 years experience as a local politician to "protect" Chingford Green.

He explained: “I honestly believe the first role is to protect the area from negative things that the council have often wanted to do, like overdevelopment and traffic schemes that people don't want.He explained: “I honestly believe the first role is to protect the area from negative things that the council have often wanted to do, like overdevelopment and traffic schemes that people don't want.

“I would like to appeal to all those who voted Conservative but are now unhappy with the party. If you can see differences between the current government’s priorities and New Labour, you’re doing better than me.“I would like to appeal to all those who voted Conservative but are now unhappy with the party. If you can see differences between the current government’s priorities and New Labour, you’re doing better than me.

“Residents should consider giving one of their votes to me because I’m somebody who's lived here for a long time. I understand how things work and how to get things done over and beyond anyone else.”“Residents should consider giving one of their votes to me because I’m somebody who's lived here for a long time. I understand how things work and how to get things done over and beyond anyone else.”

Despite his party’s penchant for separating and his belief that Chingford "would love" to join Epping Forest, Matt said he doesn’t want to fight for Chingford to leave Waltham Forest or London.Despite his party’s penchant for separating and his belief that Chingford "would love" to join Epping Forest, Matt said he doesn’t want to fight for Chingford to leave Waltham Forest or London.

Other candidates in the Chingford Green ward are Rehana Ali-Rahman, Nathan Burns and Nigel Martin for Labour; Craig Bayne for the Green Party; Henry Boyle for the Liberal Democrats; and Mitchell Goldie, Sazimet Imre and Isa Kay for the Conservatives.Other candidates in the Chingford Green ward are Rehana Ali-Rahman, Nathan Burns and Nigel Martin for Labour; Craig Bayne for the Green Party; Henry Boyle for the Liberal Democrats; and Mitchell Goldie, Sazimet Imre and Isa Kay for the Conservatives.