Question Time Audience Savages Nigel Farage Over Racist Reform UK Candidates

Reform UK Leader Nigel Farage speaks during a BBC Question Time Leaders' Special in Birmingham.
Reform UK Leader Nigel Farage speaks during a BBC Question Time Leaders' Special in Birmingham. PETER BYRNE via Getty Images

Nigel Farage was savaged by a BBC Question Time audience over racist candidates standing for Reform UK at the election.

Presenter Fiona Bruce read out a number of examples of the party’s members standing in seats across the country making deeply offensive remarks about immigrants and ethnic minorities.

Farage insisted he “wanted nothing to do with” the candidates, who he claimed were chosen before he became Reform’s leader earlier this month.

The half-hour grilling came after Channel 4 News secretly filmed Reform supporter Andrew Parker calling Rishi Sunak a “fucking P***” and advocating shooting people arriving in the UK by small boats across the Channel.

Farage has claimed the man is an actor playing a part - an accusation denied by Channel 4.

One Question Time audience member asked him: “What is it about your party that attracts racists and extremists, whether you say you want them or not?

However, Farage insisted he had “done more than anyone to drive the far right out of British politics than anyone alive”.

He said: “I’ve never allowed in parties I’ve led anybody who was even a member of an extremist organisation to join our parties.

“What happened over last weekend was truly astonishing. A tirade of invective abuse directed at the prime minister - the whole thing was unbelievable.

“It didn’t ring true, so I checked it out. It turns out that the man who did this is an actor. He was contacted by the Telegraph this morning, he denied he was an actor. We then found out, yes actually he is an actor, he’s worked in the past for Channel 4. On his own site he says ‘I’m a well spoken actor with an alter ego, I do rough talking’.

“Let me tell you, from the minute he turned up in that office in Clacton and I saw him, he was acting from the very start. He even says on his website ‘hire me, I do undercover filming’.”

Farage said it was “a total and utter set-up” and added: “I want nothing to do with people like him and he has nothing to do with us.”

Fiona Bruce then read out a series of deeply offensive comments made by Reform UK candidates.

She said: “Leslie Lillie, candidate for Southend East and Rochford, said once on small boats ‘more scum entering the UK, I hope your family get robbed and beaten and attacked’.

“Edward Oakenfull, your candidate for Derbyshire Dales, says importing sub-Saharan Africans would dilute the IQ of the country. Your candidate, Robert Lomas, Barnsley North, who says - and these are difficult words to say - ‘black people of Britain should get up off their lazy arses and stop acting like savages’.”

She told Farage: “These are your candidates. Why are they still your candidates?”

He said most of those candidates had been “disowned” and added: “I inherited this, it was a start-up party. I paid a professional London vetting company to weed this out, the work wasn’t done.

“We’re a start-up and all start-ups, whether in business or political parties, get wrong ’uns in the early days.”

But another audience member told Farage: “I know some of my friends have start-up companies, but none of them employ a whole slew of massive racists like you.”

A woman added: “I want to know when are you actually going to take responsibility for your actions and say sorry and stop making excuses?”

Referring to Farage’s sideline as a paid Cameo video creator, another woman in the audience asked him: “If I paid you £70 now would you admit that this country would be nothing without our rich history of immigration?”

The Reform UK leader said the country had a successful immigration system until the start of the millennium, but now it was “totally out of control”.

Another man in the audience told him: “Why can’t you accept that it’s your vile and racist rhetoric that’s causing this - it’s not the establishment that’s against you.”

Farage told him that was “unfair and wrong in every single way”.