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Starmer: Reform campaigner’s racist comments are a test of leadership for Farage

28 Jun 2024 3 minute read
Reform UK Leader Nigel Farage speaking at a meeting in Boston, while on the General Election campaign trail. Photo Paul Marriott/PA Wire

Nigel Farage faces a “test of leadership”, Sir Keir Starmer has said after footage emerged of Reform UK campaigners using a racial slur and suggesting migrants should be used as “target practice”.

The recording, made by an undercover Channel 4 reporter, showed another canvasser describing the Pride flag as “degenerate” and suggesting members of the LGBT community are paedophiles.

Asked about the video on Friday morning, Sir Keir said he had been “shocked” by the footage, describing it as “clearly racist” and adding: “I think this is a test of leadership.”

Mr Farage has sought to distance himself from the comments, which included a campaigner using a racist term to describe the Prime Minister, saying he was “dismayed” by the “appalling sentiments” expressed.


But Sir Keir said: “You have to ask the question why so many people who are supporting Reform seem to be exposed in this particular way.

“It’s for a leader to change his or her party, to make sure the culture is right, and the standards are understood by everybody within the party.”

Mr Farage has previously faced questions over some Reform UK candidates and the party has withdrawn support from several people prior to the General Election after investigations uncovered comments they had made previously.

On Thursday, the Reform leader claimed his candidates “in most cases” were “just speaking like ordinary folk”.

He added: “In some cases one or two people let us down and we let them go.”

On the same day, the Guardian reported that Reform had withdrawn its support for Raymond Saint, its candidate in Basingstoke, who allegedly appeared on a list of BNP members published on the website Wikileaks more than a decade ago.


Mr Farage has previously said he had an “absolute rule” to block anyone linked to the BNP or similar organisations from being a member of his party.

But other candidates who have been criticised for their language have retained Reform’s support, including Leslie Lilley, the candidate in Southend East and Rochford, who reportedly said he would “slaughter” migrants and “have their families taken out”.

Mr Farage is expected to appear on Question Time on Friday evening alongside Green Party co-leader Adrian Ramsay.

Elsewhere on the campaign trail, with less than a week to go until polling day, the Prime Minister is set to focus on education on a visit to the North East, while Labour’s Rachel Reeves will accuse the Conservatives of overseeing a huge hike in mortgage payments.

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey is expected to concentrate on dentistry with a £30 million-a-year pledge to scrap tax on children’s toothpaste and toothbrushes, saying it is “appalling that so many children are ending up in hospital with rotting teeth”.

In Scotland, SNP leader and First Minister John Swinney launched his party’s campaign bus with an attack on “£18 billion of further Westminster cuts to public services” as he promised to “protect the NHS from privatisation”.

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago

A test of Leadership !

So how would Starmer make a racist cohort into an orderly congregation ?

Ask Sunak…

Herding Hyenas…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago

Clactonese delivered by a ‘resting’ actor becomes Klactonite for Farage…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago
Reply to  Mab Meirion

Mr Reynard busy in court I presume…

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
17 days ago

I was east of the river yesterday, it felt like another country…

People of Bangor Aberconwy vote Plaid…

17 days ago

Bit they won’t be as Farage is happy to spout the same sentiments but in a more nuanced manner. Many of those who vote for the party will be saying excactly the same things down the pub, at work, in a shop. Hear it every day

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