Reform UK activist’s racial slur hurts, says Sunak

e3bd2200-357a-11ef-bdc5-41d7421c2adf Reform UK activist's racial slur hurts, says Sunak

7 hours ago

‘It makes me hurt and it makes me angry’ – Sunak on Reform racism row

Conservative leader Rishi Sunak said he was “hurt” and “angry” after a Reform UK canvasser used a racist term to describe him.

Secret recordings published by Channel 4 show a canvasser working to get Reform UK leader Nigel Farage elected as MP for Clacton using a racial slur to refer to the prime minister – who is of Indian origin.

Reform UK said those making “unacceptable comments” will no longer be part of Mr Farage’s campaign.

Speaking to reporters, Mr Sunak said “my two daughters have to see and hear Reform people who campaigned for Nigel Farage” using racist language against him.

“It hurts. And it makes me angry,” he said.

Mr Farage “has some questions to answer,” he added.

“When you see Reform candidates and campaigners, seemingly using racist and misogynistic language and opinions seemingly without challenge, I think it tells you something about the culture within the Reform Party.”

In responding to the comments, Mr Sunak chose to repeat the racist term, saying: “I do it deliberately and I hate having to do it.

“I chose my words deliberately and I hate having to repeat them, absolutely hate it but I also think it’s important to call this out for what it is and be clear about what it is.”

Essex Police have confirmed they are “urgently assessing” comments made by Reform campaigners in Channel 4’s footage “to establish if there are any criminal offences”.

Footage broadcast by Channel 4 shows racist and Islamophobic slurs apparently being made by Andrew Parker, identified as a canvasser for Mr Farage.

Mr Parker tells an undercover reporter he has “always been a Tory voter” but he is “annoyed” by Mr Sunak, who he referred to using a racial slur.

Mr Parker is also heard describing Islam as “the most disgusting cult out” and suggesting army recruits should carry out “target practice” by shooting at small boats bringing illegal migrants to the UK.

At one point Mr Parker tells voters Reform would be “kicking all the Muslims out of the mosques and turning them into Wetherspoons”.

During campaigning, he advises the undercover reporter to use the term “illegal” when discussing immigration, especially when addressing non-white households.

Ahead of the publication of the footage, Mr Parker made a statement to Channel 4 claiming “neither Nigel Farage personally or the Reform Party are aware of my personal views on immigration”.

Mr Parker said: “I have never discussed immigration with either Nigel Farage or the Reform Party and that any comments made by me during those recordings are my own personal views on any subject I commented on.

“I would therefore like to apologise profusely to Nigel Farage and the Reform Party if my personal views have reflected badly on them and brought them into disrepute as this was not my intention.”

Farage claims canvasser’s racist comments were a ‘set-up’

Mr Farage has claimed Channel 4’s undercover filming was a “total set up”, with Mr Parker a hired actor.

He initially condemned the remarks as “appalling” and said anyone making “reprehensible” comments will “no longer be with the campaign”.

But speaking to the BBC, Mr Farage said Mr Parker’s behaviour in the Channel 4 report did not “ring true”.

He said Mr Parker “came out with an endless stream of invective”, adding “no one speaks like that, it went on and on and on”.

“I looked at his website, I saw some videos, he’s a very well-spoken actor…. but he does what he calls “rough speaking”. From the moment he arrived in the office and he bowled up and spoke to me he was rough-speaking. He was acting from the moment he came into the office.”

Responding to Mr Farage’s comments, Channel 4 News said: “We strongly stand by our rigorous and duly impartial journalism which speaks for itself.

“We met Mr Parker for the first time at Reform UK party headquarters, where he was a Reform party canvasser.

“We did not pay the Reform UK canvasser or anyone else in this report. Mr Parker was not known to Channel 4 News and was filmed covertly via the undercover operation.”

Mr Parker told the PA news agency that his comments were “typical chaps-down-the-pub talk”.

“I’m not a racist. I’ve had Muslim girlfriends,” Mr Parker added.

He said he made the remarks in the “heat of the moment” because he was being “goaded on” – and asked whether he would like to apologise, he says: “Of course I’m sorry. They were off-the-cuff things that everyone says.”

He says he has “a lot of Pakistani friends” and “Muslim friends”, and that he is “sick to death” of being asked about the footage.

The secret recordings feature a conversation between what appears to be Reform UK organisers, including a man Channel 4 named as George Jones – longtime party activist who organises events for Mr Farage.

In the footage Mr Jones calls a Pride flag on a police car as a “degenerate flag”.

He repeatedly suggests members of the LGBT+ community are paedophiles and criticises police attending Pride.

He adds that, should Reform UK form a future government, “our police officers will be paramilitaries, they won’t be police” and should “bring back the noose”.

Speaking to ITV’s Loose Women, Mr Farage called the comments “vulgar, drunk and wrong” and claimed people in the group were “gone”.

The BBC has contacted Reform UK to clarify who had been expelled.

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

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