Ofcom will not investigate Channel 4 over Farage’s Reform UK undercover sting

Ofcom will not investigate Channel 4 News after Nigel Farage’s Reform UK claimed the broadcaster used an actor as a “plant” in its undercover investigation into his campaign.

The UK watchdog said it had received more than 270 complaints about Channel 4 News’s programme titled Undercover Inside Reform’s campaign, which saw a canvasser named Andrew Parker filmed using a racial slur to describe Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

After the expose aired, Reform’s party secretary Adam Richardson said in a letter to the Electoral Commission that it was “entirely evident that Mr Parker was a plant within the Channel 4 news piece”, adding that the broadcast “cannot be described as anything short of election interference”.

On Wednesday, Ofcom said after “urgently” assessing the complaints against the due accuracy, due impartiality and offence rules under the Broadcasting Code, “we have concluded that they do not raise substantive issues warranting further investigation”.

A spokesperson for Channel 4 News said: “Since this report aired, Channel 4 News has strongly stood up for its accurate, rigorous and duly impartial reporting, which speaks for itself.

“Ofcom’s decision underscores the integrity of Channel 4 News’s journalism and high editorial standards.

“The programme will continue to refute any claims that we – or the production company we worked with – knew or paid the Reform UK canvasser, Mr Andrew Parker.

“We met Mr Parker for the first time at Reform UK’s campaign headquarters in Clacton, and he was filmed secretly via the undercover investigation.”

General Election campaign 2024
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage (Ian West/PA)

The row with Channel 4 stems from an undercover report on activists involved in Mr Farage’s bid to win a Westminster seat at the eighth attempt.

The footage showed Mr Parker using the racist term about Mr Sunak and suggesting migrants should be used as “target practice”.

Another canvasser described the Pride flag as “degenerate” and suggested members of the LGBT community are paedophiles.

It comes as Mr Farage is embroiled in a dispute with the BBC, claiming the audience for Friday’s Question Time special was “rigged” and refusing to appear on the flagship Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg show unless the corporation apologises.

A BBC spokesperson previously said the broadcaster refutes the claims.