Deep unease and an ingrained mistrust of the perceived ‘elite’ could go some way to explaining the somewhat surprising poll success of the new kid on the political block.

Switched-on social media messaging, an imploding incumbent Government and indifference to the incoming opposition leader also came into play for Reform, rocket-boosted by Nigel Farage’s hat being dropped into the ring late in the day.

Political analysts were caught unawares eight years ago when the British public narrowly voted in favour of taking the UK out of the European Union.

It was seen by many at the time as a ‘protest vote’, a rejection of the establishment, which offered people with ‘nothing to lose’ a chance to make their voices heard.

To ‘take back control’, to coin a phrase.

Brexit-malaise, and an insistence the referendum result must stand, was seen, among other factors , as one of the drivers behind the overwhelming Tory success three years later as Boris Johnson pledged to deliver his so-called ‘oven-ready deal’.

The B-word has hardly featured in the campaigns of the two main parties in Thursday’s General Election that gave new Prime Minister Keir Starmer a landslide Labour victory.

But the same undercurrents of political dissatisfaction that generated the seismic shift in 2016 remain strong today, and to some extent explain the groundswell of support for Reform, the populist right-wing reincarnated Brexit Party.

While Labour has won over 400 parliamentary seats, the figures show just over a third of people backed Keir Starmer as the country’s new Prime Minister.

Following a disastrous campaign, the Tories had their worst ever election night, but Reform has raised its the number of MPs to five including media-savvy leader Nigel Farage.

The member for Clacton, an MP at last after his eighth election, will undoubtedly use his parliamentary platform to loudly amplify the voice he claims to offer dissatisfied masses.

His appeal is clearly demonstrated in key seats across the North East where Reform candidates were Labour’s closest rivals and trounced the Conservatives.

In Newton Aycliffe and Spennymoor, Alan Strickland took the seat for Labour with 18,394 votes with John Grant for Reform on 9,555 while former Tory MP Paul Howell got just 8,195.

Similarly in Easington, Graeme Morris (16,774) won with Lynne Murphy (10,232) second, ahead of Conservative Joanne Howey. (3,753)

The pattern was replicated in Hartlepool, Stockton North, and North Durham.

Reform’s Andrew Husband who won 10,689, was bested by Labour’s Luke Akehurst (16,562) but beat Tory George Carter into third with his 6,492 votes for the North Durham seat vacated by the soon-to-be ennobled Kevan Jones.

Nigel Farage meets and greets people during a visit last weekNigel Farage meets and greets people during a visit last week (Image: North News)

Mr Husband, 46,  from Durham, said: “When you look at someone as charismatic as Farage it has naturally helped us all by having him at the helm.

“He resonates with people and he talks a language people understand.

“He calls things out like they are. He does very well with young people on social media and find a way of connecting with people. He is good at engaging.

“Nigel is the reason I got out of being politically homeless. I back him because he is someone I respect and he gives us hope.”

Mr Farage’s late entry into the election changed the dynamic of what was being seen as a two-horse race, energised by his English take on Trumpian-style rallies with fireworks and razzmatazz.

Crowds of people lined up to meet the 60-year-old when he staged one of his colourful events at the Rainton Arena in Houghton-le-Spring as he told them to ‘vote with their hearts’.

The arena was packed with people who came to hear Mr Farage speak The arena was packed with people who came to hear Mr Farage speak (Image: North News) Mr Husband, who owns the Red Lion in Plawsworth and the Coach and Horses in Croxdale, said: “A lot of work has gone into fix broken Britain as part of our campaign.

“There are policies right through the contract that cover all walks of life.

“It is common sense politics and that is something people can understand.

“It is made very clear how it will benefit the individual, whatever their circumstances are.”    

Reform campaigned on the need to end government waste, cut energy bills, unlock real economic growth as well as cutting immigration by ‘taking back control over our borders, our money and our laws’.

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In the run up to the election a Channel 4 documentary recorded a Reform UK campaigner using a racist term about the Conservative leader Rishi Sunak.

Mr Farage said he "wouldn't want anything to do with them".

Mr Husband rejected the notion there was a racist element to the party or its supporters.

North Durham Reform candidate Andrew Husband North Durham Reform candidate Andrew Husband (Image: Contributor)

He said: “I think that is ridiculous, when you look at how diverse our candidate list is.

“It is quite sad really that it keeps getting bandied around. It is part of the smearing.”  

Mr Husband, a married father with a young family, said what mattered to voters was dealing with the cost-of-living crisis and making ends meet.

But he said there are also other reasons Reform has made ground in areas with traditionally disadvantaged communities where people feel politicians are out of touch.

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He said: “People want to own their own home and go on holiday once a year, and maybe got out for a bite to eat once in a while.

“It is not a lot to ask for but for a lot of people it is getting harder and harder.

“These are in some areas where most of the population are large working class communities.

“People are concerned that there are gender ideologies and other woke ideas that are creeping into our classrooms.

“There are places where men are not happy that males can use their little daughter’s toilets.

“It is not just about money, it is also about culture and the direction the country is going in. People just want to have normality and traditional values."

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He said the success of Reform in Thursday’s election provided people with a legitimate alternative to the more established political parties.

He said: “We have got four MPs in parliament who will be raising awareness of what our party stands for.

“People will have to sit up and take notice.”