Sunday, July 21, 2024

UK far-right leader criticises party workers’ racist remarks


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London, June 28: Anti-immigration British politician Nigel Farage on Friday condemned a worker for his Reform UK party who suggested migrants crossing the English Channel in boats should be used for “target practice.” Party activist Andrew Parker was heard suggesting army recruits with guns should be posted to “just shoot” migrants landing on beaches, in recordings made by an undercover reporter from Channel 4.
He also used a racial slur about Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who is of Indian descent. Another campaign worker called the LGBT pride flag “degenerate.”
Reform UK said it had cut ties with the two men. Farage said he was “dismayed” by the comments and called some of the language “reprehensible.” “The appalling sentiments expressed by some in these exchanges bear no relation to my own views, those of the vast majority of our supporters or Reform UK,” he said in a statement.
Reform is running candidates in hundreds of seats for Britain’s July 4 election, aiming to siphon off voters from the dominant Conservative and Labour parties. It has disowned several candidates after media reported on their far-right ties or offensive comments.
Speaking at a campaign event on Thursday, Farage said that “one or two people let us down and we let them go.” But he said in other cases of criticised comments, “in most cases they’re just speaking like ordinary folk.”
Farage, a right-wing populist and ally of Donald Trump, shook up the election campaign when he announced in early June that he was running. He has sought to focus the election debate on immigration, particularly the tens of thousands of people each year who try to reach the UK in small boats across the English Channel.
The migrants – mostly asylum-seekers fleeing poverty and conflict – account for a small portion of overall immigration to Britain. But the struggle to stop the hazardous crossings has become an emotive political issue.
Opponents have long accused Farage of fanning racist attitudes toward migrants and condemned what they call his scapegoat rhetoric. He is making his eighth attempt to be elected to Parliament after seven failed bids. While Reform is likely to win only a handful of seats, at most, in the 650-seat House of Commons, Farage says his goal is to get a foothold and lead the “real” opposition to a Labour Party government if the Conservatives lose power after 14 years in office. (AP)


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