‘Difficult and angry time’: Reform candidate resigns over ‘unacceptable’ social media comments

Politics

The Reform Party has accepted the resignation of one of its election candidates after “unacceptable” historical social media comments came to light.

Grant StClair-Armstrong, who was standing in Saffron Walden, the Essex constituency where Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch was the most recent MP, tendered his resignation following reports in The Times that he had previously called on people to vote for the British National Party (BNP).

The newspaper reported that StClair-Armstrong posted a blog in 2010 in which he said: “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!”

When The Times contacted Mr StClair-Armstrong about the comments, he said he had “no excuses”.

“I’ve got no excuses for that,” he said. “I think they’re a disgusting party. I don’t like the English Defence League. I don’t like them.”

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The former candidate also said he would hand in his resignation, adding: “I don’t really see any alternative.”

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A spokesperson for Reform told Sky News: “Mr StClair-Armstrong has tendered his resignation as a member of Reform UK due to the revelation of unacceptable historic social media comments and we have accepted his resignation.”

His resignation comes just a day before Nigel Farage is due to launch the party’s policies in South Wales on Monday afternoon.

Last week another Reform candidate apologised for an old internet post which said Britain should have “taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality” instead of fighting the Nazis in the Second World War.

Ian Gribbin, who is standing in the East Sussex seat of Bexhill and Battle, told Sky News that he apologised and withdrew the comments “unreservedly”.

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He added that he was “upset” at how they had been “taken out of context”, saying his mother was the daughter of Russian Jewish people who fled persecution.


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Rishi Sunak surprised his opponents when he called an election for 4 July, having previously hinted it would take place later in the autumn.

Responding to Mr Gribbin’s case at the time, Mr Farage said his party “ran out of time” to properly vet candidates.

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The Reform leader claimed all parties “will suffer” from selection controversies because of the speed at which they had to pick people after the election was called.

The candidates standing in Saffron Walden are:

  • Conservatives – Kemi Badenoch
  • Independent – Erik Bonino
  • Green Party – Edward Gildea
  • Independent – Andrew David Green
  • Independent – Niko Omilana
  • Liberal Democrats – Smita Rajesh
  • Labour Party – Issy Waite
  • Reform – TBC

The candidates standing in Bexhill and Battle are:

  • Independent – Abul Azad
  • Labour – Christine Bayliss
  • Reform UK – Ian Gribbin
  • Independent Network – Nigel Jacklin
  • Liberal Democrat – Becky Jones
  • Green Party – Jonathan Kent
  • Party of Women – Julia Long
  • Conservative – Kieran Mullan
  • Independent – Jeff Newman
  • UK Independence Party – Colin Sullivan

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