Nigel Farage challenged Canvasser’s racist slurs

video title, Farage asked how he would deal with racism within a reformed UK

  • author, Kate Vannell
  • stock, Political Correspondent

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has reiterated that footage of one of his party’s activists making openly racist comments was a “set-up”.

He faced angry questions from BBC Question Time viewers during a Channel 4 broadcast in which Andrew Parker, canvasser for Reform UK, used a racist term about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Mr Farage described the comments as “intrusive abuse” but suggested the man may have been paid.

Challenged on other views of reform UK candidates, Mr Farage said he wanted “nothing to do” with them and said he had withdrawn his support.

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay, who appeared before Mr Farage at the same event, condemned Mr Parker’s comments as “horrendous” and said it was a “stark reminder of the future we face if people back electoral reform”.

Asked about comments from some of his own candidates, he said concerns would be properly investigated.

She said her two daughters needed to see and listen to reformers who campaigned for Nigel Farage using racist language against her.

He said Mr Farage had “some questions to answer”.

As well as insulting the Prime Minister, Mr Parker described Islam as a “very vile cult” and suggested army recruiters should carry out “target practice” by shooting at small boats bringing illegal immigrants to Britain.

In a statement, Mr Parker said he wanted to apologize to Nigel Farage and the Reform Party if his personal comments reflected badly on them, as that was not my intention.

Essex Police said they are “urgently assessing” the comments on the project to “establish whether there is any criminal offence”.

Mr Farage has argued that he has done more to defeat the far right than any other living figure in British politics.

“A decade ago I took on the BNP. I told their voters, this is a protest vote but you don’t support their racist agenda, don’t vote for them, vote for me, you’ve destroyed them.”

He reiterated his claims earlier in the day that Mr Parker was an actor with an alter ego and suggested it was a “political set-up of astonishing proportions”.

“It’s designed to hurt us, and some believe it.”

image caption, Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay condemned Andrew Parker’s comments as “appalling”.

Mr Parker was approached by the BBC about Mr Farage’s comments but declined to comment.

Channel 4 News said it stood by its “rigorous and methodically impartial journalism” and that it had met Mr Parker for the first time at the Reform UK party headquarters and had not paid him.

Mr Farage was asked about other comments made by Reform UK candidates.

Derbyshire Dales stand-in Edward Oakenfull wrote insulting social media posts about the IQs of sub-Saharan Africans. Mr Oakenfull told the BBC his comments were “taken out of context”.

Barnsley North candidate Robert Lomas reportedly said black people should “get out”. [their] Lazy” and stop acting “like savages.” The comments were reported by the Times on June 8, at which time Reform said they were “out of context excerpts” and needed more time to respond.

Leslie Lilley, stationed at Southend East and Rochford, is said to have described the small boat arrivals as “dungeons”, adding: “I’m sure your family will be robbed, beaten or assaulted.”

Mr Farage said he had rejected the candidates in question: “I want nothing to do with them.”

“You have people in all parties saying bad things and wrong things,” he said, adding that it was part of the need to find candidates quickly following the prime minister’s surprise call for a general election in July.

Mr Lilley is no longer named as Reform UK’s candidate on the party’s website, although Mr Ogunfull and Mr Lomas are.

The BBC has contacted Reform to confirm whether the party has officially withdrawn support from all three candidates.

However, it was too late to prevent them from appearing on the ballot.

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay was also asked about comments some of his candidates have made regarding the conflict in Gaza, including one who compared Hamas to French resistance fighters in World War II.

Mr Ramsay said he did not support those views and that any concerns would be “properly investigated through the proper channels within the party” – saying those channels were separate from the leadership.

“Unfortunately all the parties have candidates who have been elected in this election and they are not moving forward now,” he said.

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