Posted on June 3, 2024

Reform UK Forced to Remove More Than 100 General Election Candidates in 2024

Ben Quinn, The Guardian, May 24, 2024

Reform UK have had to remove more than 100 general election candidates since the start of the year, more than a dozen of whom were sacked after offensive and racist comments were revealed.

The populist party is now also facing a race against time to meet its pledge to stand a full slate of candidates. It needs to select for as many as 160 constituencies before the cut-off point for nominations in 14 days.

An analysis of Reform’s candidate listings by the campaigning organisation Hope Not Hate found that as many as 110 seats had seen their Reform UK candidates dropped or swapped since January. In four seats, two different candidates were dropped.

Reform maintains that 80% of those dropped or replaced were cases of people being inactive or unable to commit to the July election. The party apologised last month after a candidate who had died was deselected for being “inactive”.

More than a dozen Reform prospective parliamentary candidates (PCCs) have been dropped in recent months after past utterances were revealed by the media, campaigners or members of the public.

Now it accepts that, in many cases, those standing may be “paper” candidates as limited resources are thrown into a number of target seats. It received a blow this week when Nigel Farage, its honorary president, announced that he would not be standing.

Reform’s leader, Richard Tice, is standing in Boston and Skegness in Lincolnshire – a surprise after he had long been associated with Hartlepool, where he came third in 2019.

Georgie Laming, director of campaigns at Hope Not Hate, said: “Reform UK’s claims of being election ready are transparently untrue. Not only do they not have a full slate of candidates selected, but the candidates they do have are time and time again exposed as racists, conspiracy theorists and extremists.”

A Reform UK spokesperson said: “We are quite certain that we will be able to have a full slate of candidates. It’s a pledge we have made.

“Some of the candidates may be paper ones, but the vast majority are very keen. Because of what has happened in recent months we have been more strict with vetting.”