Reform UK defends candidates as more comments emerge

Reform UK rosette

Reform UK says its general election candidates are free to express views that "are not shared by all their party colleagues" as they are not "political zombies".

It comes as fresh details emerged about social media posts linked to Reform UK candidates.

An account in the name of Lee Bunker, the party's candidate for Exeter, asked in a post in 2018 when will they “be deporting Diane Abbott” in response to Jeremy Corbyn tweeting about immigration deportation targets.

And in 2022 it said “migrants are bringing in diseases” in response to a Sky News story about a man who died after staying at the Manston migrant processing centre in Kent.

Reform UK candidate Angela Carter-Begbie called King Charles "weak" and claimed he was under the control of global financial elites.

As first reported in The Times, Ms Carter-Begbie, who is standing in Queen's Park and Maida Vale, also questioned the King's loyalty to Britain and said she was "not a fan" of the Monarch.

Mr Bunker and Ms Carter-Begbie have yet to respond to BBC requests for comment.

Another Reform UK candidate has denied describing migrants granted asylum in Germany as “scum” who wanted to “rape and ruin” the EU.

A Twitter account in the name of Kate Bosley, who is standing for the party in Reading West and Mid Berkshire, shared a video and a Twitter post by the far-right activist Tommy Robinson.

Ms Bosley initially denied it was her social media account when approached by BBC News.

The social media posts were shared in January 2016.

One says: “merkel. She let in a million eco male scum refugees who simply want to rape and ruin EU…leaving women and children to suffer in warzones!”

In the previous 12 months Germany took in more than a million asylum seekers as part of its approach to dealing with Europe’s migrant crisis.

The account also retweeted another user who posted that you had to be an “imbecile” or a “brain dead leftie” to think wanting “to protect your homeland from rapists and terrorists is racist”.

The Twitter account carries the same photo of Ms Bosley that is used on her campaign page on the Reform party's website.

Ms Bosley initially denied it was her account.

BBC News then showed her another message from the account promoting a company which, according to her LinkedIn profile, she worked for at the time.

In response she said: “I have not been on Twitter/X in years. I don’t know how I would login nowadays. Any recent posts (5 years) I would want evidence from Twitter/X as to the IP address they originated from.

“Photographs can easily be screenshot and used by whomever.”

When asked again if it was her Twitter account, Ms Bosley failed to respond.

Asked to comment on the latest allegations, a Reform UK spokesman said the party's candidates were "not party-political zombies".

"We are proud that they think and speak like the ordinary people they are," he added.

“They also have views of their own and are as free to express them as anyone else, even if they are not shared by all their party colleagues.

"Ultimately, they are responsible to the electorates of their constituencies, who are perfectly capable of making up their own minds."

Reform UK has threatened to take legal action against a company it hired in April at a cost of £144,000 to vet hundreds of would-be candidates.

Party chairman Richard Tice said: “They promised a deep dive, particularly on social media, and adverse press checks, received our candidate data but then delivered absolutely nothing."

Reform leader Nigel Farage claimed it was an "establishment stitch-up" as the co-owner of the company,, Colin Bloom is a former Tory adviser.

A spokesperson for said: “Some months ago we approached all the major UK political parties offering our automated background screening services.

"We were delighted to be asked to help Reform.

"Everyone’s working assumption was that the election would be in the autumn, giving us the summer to complete this work.

"Given the explicit need for candidate consent, as well as our systems needing basic personal data like dates of birth, our automated software was not able process Reform’s candidates with the data that was provided when it was provided.

"We do not intend to litigate this in public, and we send Reform our best wishes as they shake up the UK political landscape.

"Mr Bloom has not had anything to do with the UK Conservative Party since 2022 and remains politically neutral.”

You can find a full list of the candidates for the Exeter constituency here

You can find a full list of the candidates for the Queen's Park and Maida Vale constituency here

And a full list of the candidates for Reading West and Mid Berkshire can be found here