Nigel Farage faces racism accusations from activist

Video explanation, Farage asked how he would deal with racism within the UK Correctional Service

  • author, Kate Whannell
  • Role, Political Correspondent

UK Reform Party leader Nigel Farage has reiterated that footage showing racist comments apparently made by one of his party activists was a “set-up”.

He faced angry questions from a BBC audience during a Question Time broadcast on Channel 4 that showed Andrew Parker, a member of the UK’s Reform Party, using a racist term about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Mr Farage described the comments as a “series of indecent abuse” but suggested the man may have been paid.

In response to other comments made by Reform Party candidates in the UK, Farage said he “wants nothing to do” with them, adding that he had withdrawn his support for them.

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay, speaking to Farage on the same programme, condemned Parker’s comments as “appalling” and said they were a “stark reminder of the future we could be heading towards if people support electoral reform”.

Asked about comments made by some of his nominees, he said those concerns would be appropriately investigated.

He said his daughters “need to see and hear the reformist people who campaigned for Nigel Farage” using racist language against him.

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

As well as the abuse directed at the Prime Minister, Mr Parker was also heard describing Islam as “the most disgusting sect” and suggesting that army recruits should carry out “targeting training” by shooting at small boats carrying illegal immigrants to the UK.

In a statement, Parker said he wanted to “profoundly apologise to Nigel Farage and the Reform Party if my personal views have reflected poorly on them and brought them into disrepute as this was not my intention”.

Essex Police said it was “urgently assessing” the comments on the programme “to ascertain whether there are any criminal offences”.

Mr Farage claimed he had done more to expel the far right than anyone alive in British politics.

“I ran for the British National Party over a decade ago. I said to their voters: if this is a protest vote but you don’t support their racist agenda, don’t vote for them, vote for me, and I will destroy them.”

He went on to confirm claims he made earlier in the day that Mr Parker was an actor with an alter ego, and suggested this was a “political arrangement of staggering proportions”.

“This is designed to hurt us, and it is unfortunate that some people believe that.”

The BBC contacted Mr Parker about Farage’s comments, but he did not wish to comment.

Channel 4 News said it was committed to “accurate and impartial journalism”, adding that it had first met Mr Parker at the UK Reform Party headquarters and had not paid him any money.

Mr Farage was then asked about other comments made by British Reform Party candidates, including Edward Oakenfull who wrote offensive social media posts about the IQ of sub-Saharan Africans. Mr Ockenfull told the BBC that his comments had been “taken out of context”.

Mr Farage said he disavowed the aforementioned candidates, adding: “I don’t want to have anything to do with them.”

“You find people in all parties saying bad things and wrong things,” he said, noting that this was partly a result of the need to find candidates quickly after the prime minister’s surprise call for a general election in July.

Parties can and have withdrawn their support for their candidates during this election campaign, but it is too late to prevent them from appearing on the ballot paper.

Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay was also asked about comments made by some of his candidates 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, adding that any concerns would be “properly investigated through the correct channels within the party” – saying those channels were separate from the leadership.

“Unfortunately, all parties have candidates who were chosen in these elections but are no longer able to move forward,” he said.

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