THE Basingstoke candidate for Reform UK has been selected.

Raymond Saint, a former plumber and teacher at Basingstoke College of Technology (BCoT), has been selected to stand for Reform UK in the upcoming General Election on July 4.

His policies include securing borders, reforming the health service and reducing the size of government.

READ MORE: 'The sooner the better' say Basingstoke residents as general election is called

Basingstoke Gazette: Raymond Saint is Reform UK's candidate for the Basingstoke ConstituencyRaymond Saint is Reform UK's candidate for the Basingstoke Constituency (Image: Reform UK)

Reform UK was founded by Catherine Blaiklock with support from Nigel Farage in November 2018 as the Brexit Party. It is now led by Nigel Farage. According to the most recent YouGov poll data, it is projected to gain 11 per cent of the vote in Basingstoke. 

Mr Saint, who was financed by BT to study a degree, worked in research and development after completing an apprenticeship with the company. 

He said: "I took early retirement at age 49 and retrained as a plumber. I started a plumbing company and sold the company after eight years. For the final two years of my working life I returned to Basingstoke College to teach others plumbing and heating skills.

"I would regard myself as conservative and always voted accordingly but unfortunately during the last few years I find myself politically homeless as the party has completely lost its way and, in my opinion, can no longer be regarded as conservative.

"After 13 years of this government, the country seems to be completely broken and no one in the administration appears to have a clue how to fix the problems.

"This is the reason I decided to join the Reform Party in the hope that together we can try to bring the country back to some kind of normality."

Mr Saint said his first priority will be to "fix our borders and make them secure", adding: "The second would be to reform the health service to make it more efficient to a point where it’s no longer a money pit.

"This could be achieved by reducing the bureaucracy and top-heavy management structures within the organisation and this would free up funds to provide more front-line staff.

"My third priority would be to drastically reduce the size of government."

He also wants to "get people who can work off benefits and back into the workforce"; increase the number of personnel in the armed forces; and invest in energy infrastructure such as research into fusion nuclear power. 

"I would like to see an end to this crazy dash to a green future and go for a more sensible process that allows a gradual progression as and when the technology becomes available," he said, adding: "I would also like to see the education system changed to prevent our children from being indoctrinated with the woke ideology and other nonsense that they are being taught today and get back to a basic education."

He continued: "Finally, I feel that we need to get back to government by consent and pull back from the slide to a dictatorial style government which appears to have happened over recent years. It should not be forgotten that if you represent your constituents in Parliament you should not be dictating to them but representing their views."