Reform UK dropped three candidates over offensive comments.


video caption, Farage on the Reform Candidates Controversy

  • the author, Becky Morton
  • the role, Political reporter

A spokesman said Reform UK had dropped three of its candidates following reports they had made offensive or racist comments.

Edward Oakenfill, who stands in the Derbyshire Dales. Barnsley North candidate Robert Loomis and South End East and Rochford incumbent Lesley Lilly will still appear on the ballot paper as Reform candidates because it is too late to remove them.

A Reform spokesman said that if any of the three were elected, they would sit as independent members of parliament.

However, he said people should still vote for candidates if they want to register support for reforms.

It comes after leader Nigel Farage dismissed the candidates during an appearance on BBC Question Time on Friday evening, after their remarks were thrown at him.

Mr Farage told the programme: “I want nothing to do with them.”

Asked what the reform would say to voters in constituencies where candidates were dropped, a party spokesperson said they would “encourage those people to vote for the party by getting them to vote on the ballot paper”.

As such, he said people could still vote for a “policy platform” of reform.

He added: “I'm not saying the situation is ideal, but the size of the reform vote share nationally matters.”

Warning: This story contains language that may be offensive.

Mr O'Connell posted disparaging comments on social media last year about the IQs of sub-Saharan Africans. He previously told the BBC that the remarks were taken out of context.

Mr. Lomas reportedly said that black people should “get off. [their] Slow down and “stop acting like savages.” The comments were reported by The Times on 8 June, at which time Reform claimed they were “quotations out of context” and that it needed more time to respond.

Mr Lilley allegedly described people arriving on small boats as “wrong” in a social media post, adding: “I hope your family gets robbed, beaten or attacked. “

However, he argued that this was partly a result of the rush to find candidates following the surprise announcement of general elections in July.

Since the start of the election campaign, Reform has faced constant questions over its choice of candidates, following several instances of offensive social media posts.

All major parties have had to drop potential parliamentary candidates over inappropriate comments, but this has been the case with more reformist candidates than other parties.

The party has accused a company it hired to conduct background checks on candidates, claiming it failed to do the checks before the polls were called.

Mr Farage faced angry questions from a Question Time audience about a recording aired by Channel 4 of Reform UK canvasser Andrew Parker using a racist term about Prime Minister Rishi Shankar. was shown.

Mr Farage described the comments as “a mockery of constructive abuse” but suggested the man had been compensated and claimed it was a “political set-up of shocking proportions”.

Reform UK said it had reported Channel 4 to the electoral watchdog, the Electoral Commission, about alleged election interference.

The party said it would also demand an investigation by media regulator Ofcom.

On Friday, Channel 4 News said it stood by its “rigorous and impartial journalism”, adding that it had first met Mr Parker at Reform UK party headquarters and had not paid him. .

In a statement, Mr Parker said he wanted to “profusely apologize to Nigel Farage and the Reform Party if my personal views reflect badly on them and bring them into disrepute as this was not my intention”.

Essex Police said they were “immediately reviewing” the comments on the program to determine whether there was any criminal offence.

In a later statement, Hertfordshire Police said they arrested a man in his 60s on Friday “on suspicion of public order offences. After further investigation and liaising with Essex Police He is being released without further action.”

Another man filmed in Channel 4's undercover report, George Jones, was a genuine party volunteer, a Reform spokesman confirmed.

In the footage, Mr Jones, a long-time party activist who organizes events for Mr Farage, calls the Pride flag on a police car a “degenerate flag”.

He repeatedly suggests that members of the LGBT+ community are pedophiles and criticizes the police who attend Pride.

The spokesman said “you can't fire a volunteer” but that Mr Jones was “no longer involved with the campaign”, adding: “He's gone.”

Asked whether Reform UK and Mr Farage would also say they wanted nothing to do with Mr Jones in light of his remarks, the spokesman said there was a “difference” between Mr Jones's case and Mr Parker's. Is.

He said the two men were no longer part of the campaign, but Mr Jones had previously known about Reform UK and his comments were “rather funny”, while he had no idea Mr Who Parker is and his comments were “too light-hearted.”

Mr Farage previously described Mr Jones' comments as “vulgar, drunken and wrong”.

Both Labor and the Conservatives criticized Mr Farage's leadership of Reform UK on Saturday.

Security Minister Tom Tugendhat told Times Radio that there was a “pattern of racist and misogynistic views” at Reform UK, and said Mr Farage “clearly did not exercise due diligence on what he did”. Asking you to carry your message.

Sir Keir Starmer praised the Prime Minister's public criticism of Mr Farage and said “I share his disgust”.

The Labor leader said Mr Farage had failed to meet the “tone, culture and standards” of his party.

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