Dodge A Bullet At The Ballot Box: A Mega-List of Reform candidates to avoid like the plague

02 07 24

Despite apparently pre-vetting their candidates and then spending £144,000 to get them all re-vetted, the candidate list that Reform UK has ended up with is, as widely acknowledged, absolutely woeful. It is hard to imagine that random selecting individuals from a city-centre bus stop at 2am would have provided more fuel for embarrassing news articles and exposés.

But with so many woeful Reform UK candidates having been uncovered, by a wide range of activists and journalists, we thought it might be useful to provide a refresher of some the most unsuitable, unsavoury and/or unhinged candidates to avoid:

Amber Valley – Alex Stevenson

The Reform UK candidate in Amber Valley, Alex Stevenson, was a Conservative councillor for Derbyshire County Council until he was suspended for defending Andrew Bridgen’s suggestion that the COVID vaccine programme was the “biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust”.

Stevenson has gone further, sharing a tweet to his Facebook account which alleges that the pandemic was “created and orchestrated fraudulently by a Global Criminal Organization” that includes Bill Gates, the Rothschilds and King Charles.

Arbroath and Broughty Ferry – Gwen Wood

Reform’s candidate in Arbroath and Broughty Ferry is one of many Reform candidates who seem to be worried about the chemtrails conspiracy theory, which holds that the vapour trails left by aeroplanes are in fact a toxic chemical spray used to poison the population.

While Wood acknowledges that “reliable info is hard to come by”, she views this lack of evidence as a sign that the World Economic Forum is covering it up, rather than that it simply isn’t true.

Barnsley North – Robert Lomas

Reform’s candidate in Barnsley North, Robert Lomas, said in a social media post that black people in Britain should “get off [their] lazy arses” and stop “grifting the race card” and “acting like savages”.

In response to these and other allegations against candidates, a Reform UK spokesperson told the Times that reporting such comments was “juvenile gotcha journalism” and “a clear example of the depths to which The Times and the chattering class around Westminster stoop”.

Barnsley South – Cllr David White

In June HOPE not hate revealed that Cllr David White, the candidate for Barnsley South candidate and one of Reform’s few serving local councillors, had seemingly been the founder and “Head of Business in the UK and EU” for a shady Dubai-based cryptocurrency scheme, BuddyX and made no mention of it on his register of interests for Barnsley Borough Council.

 Incredibly, a Reform Party spokesperson stated that Cllr White had been merely been a “third party supplier” to the company and had repeatedly portrayed himself as a senior employee at the company to be “polite”.

Basingstoke – Raymond Saint

Among those who have been formally suspended by the party but will still appear as Reform candidates on the ballot, Raymond Saint was dropped after the Guardian reported that he was a member of the BNP in 2010, which contravened Reform’s entry requirements.

Bexhill and Battle – Ian Gribbin

The third candidate to be selected for the seat of Bexhill and Battle, Ian Gribbin caused major upset when the BBC reported his deeply offensive social media posts, including referring to women as the “sponging gender” and his belief that the UK should not have joined the fight against Hitler:

“Britain would be in a far better state today had we taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality … but oh no, Britain’s warped mindset values weird notions of international morality rather than looking after its own people.”

The outrage was only exacerbated by the Reform Party spokesperson’s response, which said that Gribbins views were “written with an eye to inconvenient perspectives and truths”.

Bicester & Woodstock – Augustine Obodo

In June HOPE not hate revealed that the Reform candidate for Bicester & Woodstock is a fanatical supporter of Donald Trump, who he refers to as “Daddy Trump”, and made numerous social media posts that referenced the bizarre and unfounded QAnon conspiracy theory. 

Bournemouth West – Ben Aston

Ben Aston, Reform’s candidate for Bournemouth West, has been kept on as a candidate despite The Times reporting that he had posted antisemitic tweets using a pseudonymous account.

 “These endless takes from Jews are horrendous. Many of the powerful groups agitating for the mass import into England of Muslims from the Third World are Jewish.”

Embarrassingly for the party, Aston was selected for Bournemouth West following the deselection of Peter Storms, who was dropped after it emerged that he had shared posts from the Islamophobic and violent Britain First group.

Chipping Barnet – Hamish Haddow

Among the candidates who make a mockery of Reform’s claims to have done even the slightest vetting, Hamish Haddow was previously dropped as the Conservative candidate for homophobic and pro-Putin comments in 2022. 

Haddow has continued his posting of extreme content: using an anonymous account under the name ‘Knight of St Albans’, he has shared posts from Tommy Robinson referring to Carol Vorderman as a ‘Bitch”, declared that Taylor Swift is a Satanist and told pro-Palestine demonstrators to “fuck off to a Muslim country”

Derbyshire Dales – Edward Oakenfull

Derbyshire Dales candidate Edward Oakenfull was reported to have made comments about how African people had “diluted” the IQ of the UK and that “nothing good” came from allowing Muslims to emigrate to the UK.

Derbyshire North East – Andy Egginton

Illustrating the chaos of Reform’s selection process, Andy Egginton was removed as the candidate for Derbyshire North East after the Good Law Project revealed that he had shared a video of Tommy Robinson’s demo on April 23rd, shot by another far-right activist.

However, when nominations closed it emerged that Egginton had in fact been selected as a candidate, one a few who had been awkwardly reselected at the last minute.

Didcot and Wantage – Steve Beatty 

The Didcot and Wantage candidate Steve Beatty was revealed by the Antifascist Research Collective to have regularly endorsed social media posts by the fascist splinter group (and Reform UK rival) the Homeland Party.

You might have expected Beatty to be a little more careful with his ‘likes’, as Novara Media pointed out: Beatty had previously been exposed by the Sunday Times in 2016 for having “multiple English Defence League and Britain First posts” on his Facebook profile when he was selected to stand for UKIP.

Erewash – Liam Booth-Isherwood

Voters should think twice about voting for Reform UK in Erewash – but only because the candidate himself has said they shouldn’t.

Following Channel 4’s shocking undercover footage of Reform activists in Clacton, Booth-Isherwood declared that he no longer wished to stand and urged voters to back the Conservative candidate.

Essex North West – Grant StClair-Armstrong

Grant StClair-Amstrong offered his “resignation” after The Times discovered social media posts from 2010 in which he had encourage people to vote for the BNP:

“I could weep now, every time I pick up a British newspaper and read the latest about the state of the UK. No doubt, Enoch Powell would be doing the same if he was alive. My solution … vote BNP!’

Exeter- Lee Bunker

The third candidate to be named for Exeter after two previous candidates dropped out, Lee Bunker was revealed by the BBC to have tweeted in 2018 that the black Labour MP Dianne Abbott should be deported.

Exmouth and Exeter East – Garry Sutherland

There are two important things to know about Garry Sutherland, Reform UK candidate for Exmouth and Exeter: the first is that he has a criminal conviction for kicking a dog, and the second is that he appears to view the extreme crank David Icke as a figure whose views must be taken seriously.

While Sutherland insists that his pooch-punting was an act of self defence, it is not clear why he shared a video of David Icke ranting about “Rothschild Zionism”, adding the caption “Remember when they used to mock him? Well we’re not laughing now”

Glasgow West – Dionne Moore

In one of the most staggering vetting failures yet, Sky News revealed in June that Dionne Moore, standing in Glasgow West, had previously stood for the Brexit Party under the name Dionne Cocozza and been the subject of exposes by HOPE not hate and the Glasgow Guardian regarding her Islamophobic posts on Twitter. Cocozza appears to be running under her middle name of Moore this time around, with no explanation offered as to why.

Grantham and Bourne – Mike Rudkin

The Reform candidate for Grantham & Bourne, Mike Rudkin was revealed by the Campaign Against Antisemitism to have shared a Facebook post from far-right activist Kate Paris in which she referred to migrants as an “invasion” that was “imported by your Zionist governmen”

“an invasion by people’s [sic] imported by your zionist controlled government who have agreed to the genocide of you and your genetic line.”

Hitchin – Charles Bunker

Like many Reform UK candidates, Charles Bunker of Hitchin has expressed deeply Islamophobic sentiments about British Muslims in general and the Mayor of London in particular:

Hertford and Stortford – John Burmicz

The candidate for Hertford & Stortford, John Burmicz, appears to be a keen enthusiast for the divisive racial politics of Enoch “Rivers of Blood” Powell, clicking the ‘like’ button on two separate fanpages.

Honiton and Sidmouth – Paul Quickenden

Honiton and Sidmouth candidate Paul Quickenden was revealed by local media to have posted a meme referring to Rishi Sunak as “Dahl Boy”, a racist reference to his Indian ancestry, and to have warned of “Cultural Jihad , happening now in plain site and encouraged by both main parties.”

Isle of Wight East – Sarah Morris

Reform UK’s candidate in Isle of Wight East, Sarah Morris, is one of many candidates to have the tinfoil hat firmly in place, sharing numerous social media posts about chemtrails, vaccines and the supposed harms of 5G internet, as well as a post cheering on false rumours that a Rothschild-owned bank had been set on fire in France.

Kensington and BayswaterMarc Burca

One of the strangest candidates is Marc Burca for Kensington and Bayswater. As HOPE not hate revealed, Burca’s unusual take on the crimes of Ghislaine Maxwell, convicted of trafficking underaged girls on behalf of Jeffrey Epstein, is that she might have been “doing the 17year old a favour” and that the age of consent is a “gray area of the law”:

Mansfield – Matthew Lee Warnes

The Reform candidate for Mansfield has shared a number of disturbing antisemitic and Islamophobic posts on his Facebook page, including fake news stories about the global control of the Rothschild family and endorsements of the “white genocide” conspiracy theory.

Northampton North – Antony Antoniou

As reported by Sky News and Campaign Against Antisemitism, Queen’s Park and Maida Vale candidate Angela Carter-Begbie responded to a tweet about the war in Ukraine by saying that “banks want to make it a new place. They are owned by the Jews”

Richmond Park – Michael Hearn

Richmond Park candidate Michael Hearn, formerly a Conservative councillor, was exposed by Byline Times for using multiple social media accounts to share far-right posts, including those from the identitarian group Generation Identity and frequent Islamophobic abuse of Sadiq Khan.

“We imported a religious system of hate from Africa which hates everything but more so Jewish people and we allowed this to happen easy solution deport the hatred back to their homeland and keep the jews safe”

Salisbury – Julian Malins

Salisbury candidate Julian Malins has something of a weak spot for Vladimir Putin, recently telling a local hustings that “he [Putin] seemed very good”:

“I have actually met Putin and had a 10-minute chat with him, and he seemed very good […] He’s a very popular Russian president – as such, he’s a good Russian president”

Such a position is not particularly popular anywhere in the UK, but might present a particularly large obstacle in the town that suffered a Putin-ordered nerve agent attack in 2018. 

Southend East and Rochford – Leslie Lilly

One of three candidates belatedly disowned by Reform following media pressure, Southend East and Rochford candidate Leslie Lilley was exposed by The Times for comments including a vow to “slaughter” migrants and their families in reply to a story about small boat arrivals:

“I hope I’m near one of these scumbags one day I won’t run away I’ll slaughter them then have their family taken out.”

Warrington North – Trevor Nicholls

Reform’s candidate in Warrington North threatened to “start the fires on the streets” if Sajid Javid, who is of Muslim ancestry but is non-practicing, became Prime Minister:

Widnes and Halewood – Jake Fraser

Fraser is one of many Reform candidates to have made unhinged comparisons between measures to control the COVID-19 pandemic and the Holocaust, reportedly saying on Facebook that the UK was at risk of a “Health Holocaust”:

“We’re on the precipice of a Health Holocaust […] The same methodology the Nazis used to rise to power with minimal opposition by appealing to both sides of the political spectrum… is unfolding before our eyes.”


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