Reform UK drops three candidates over racism row

As the registration deadline for candidates has passed, all three candidates will remain on the ballot paper, despite no longer being endorsed by Reform UK…reports Asian Lite News

Reform UK has withdrawn support from three of its parliamentary candidates as the racism row engulfing the party continues to grow.

The party led by Nigel Farage is no longer supporting Edward Oakenfull, who is standing in Derbyshire Dales, Robert Lomas, a candidate in Barnsley North, and Leslie Lilley, standing in Southend East and Rochford, after alleged comments made by them emerged in the media.

It comes as party leaders from across the political spectrum have lined up to condemn Reform UK, and told Farage he needs to “get a grip” of his party.

Oakenfull has been suspended after reportedly having written social media posts about the IQ of sub-Saharan Africans – which he told the BBC were “taken out of context”.

Meanwhile, Lomas said black people should “get off [their] lazy arses” and stop acting “like savages”, The Times reported.

Lilley, according to the newspaper, described people arriving on small boats as “scum”, adding: “I hope your family get robbed, beaten or attacked.”

As the registration deadline for candidates has passed, all three candidates will remain on the ballot paper, despite no longer being endorsed by Reform UK.

The decision to drop these candidates comes amid a vast row about racism in the party after Channel 4 news aired footage filmed undercover that showed Andrew Parker, an activist canvassing for Farage, using the racial slur “P***” to describe the prime minister, describing Islam as a “disgusting cult”, and saying the army should “just shoot” migrants crossing the Channel.

Reform UK was condemned by party leaders across the political spectrum, and Rishi Sunak reacted furiously to the comments, saying Mr Farage had “some questions to answer”.

He said: “My two daughters have to see and hear Reform people who campaign for Nigel Farage calling me an effing P***. It hurts and it makes me angry and I think he has some questions to answer.

“And I don’t repeat those words lightly. I do so deliberately because this is too important not to call out clearly for what it is.”

Parker has told Sky News he was a “total fool”, that he has learned his lesson, and there was “no racism” in what he said.

Reform UK has said it has reported Channel 4 to the elections watchdog for alleged “scandalous… interference” over what the party claims was a fake rant planted by the broadcaster.

The broadcaster has rejected the allegations out of hand, saying: “We strongly stand by our rigorous and duly impartial journalism which speaks for itself. We met Parker for the first time at Reform UK party headquarters, where he was a Reform party canvasser.

“We did not pay the Reform UK canvasser or anyone else in this report. Parker was not known to Channel 4 News and was filmed covertly via the undercover operation.”

The Electoral Commission said they were “aware of reports” that Reform UK had asked them to investigate.

But the commission said it had “not received such a letter”, adding that it would “consider [the letter’s] contents” if it did.

A spokesperson for the commission said Channel 4 News was exempt from its regulation as it is a licensed broadcaster. They said any laws surrounding the potential defamation of candidates would be a matter for the police.

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