Reform candidates' offensive remarks seen by BBC

A stock image shows a Reform Party logo on a rosette on someone's chest

Eight Reform UK candidates have made a wide range of offensive remarks online about women in the past, the BBC can reveal.

The remarks include disparaging comments about the murdered MP Jo Cox, former Prime Minister Theresa May, and a black reality TV contestant.

The comments were posted between 2011 and 2023.

Reform UK and the candidates involved have all been approached for comment.

Earlier this week, the party said it planned to sue a company it hired to vet potential MPs.

This article contains strong language.

Among the candidates whose comments the BBC has uncovered is Simon Moorehead, standing in Inverclyde and Renfrewshire West, who wrote on X: "[Jo] Cox was a dreadful woman, with bad ideas".

He then added: "No-one wanted her dead though".

  • You can see a full list of candidates for the Inverclyde and Renfrewshire West constituency here.

Mark Cole, the candidate in Harwich and North Essex, said in a Facebook post: "Accidently switched on to X-Factory. The only thing worth watching is the black bint.... whoever she is."

Mr Cole deleted this comment after being approached by the BBC.

  • You can see a full list of candidates for the Harwich and North Essex constituency here.

Andrew Banwell, the candidate for Thornbury and Yate, referred to Mrs May on X as “Merkels Bitch”.

Angela Merkel formerly served as German chancellor, with her tenure overlapping with Mrs May’s time in Downing Street.

  • You can see a full list of candidates for the Thornbury and Yate constituency here.

Malcolm Cupis, the candidate for Melksham and Devizes, accused women dancing in a music video posted on Youtube of "behaving like a gutter slut" and referred to one woman as a "malignant old hag".

Mr Cupis told the BBC he stood by his comments.

He said of the music video: “This disgusting performance should not be available to… children. It demeans girls and encourages misogyny in boys.”

“’Gutter sluts’ is actually nothing in comparison to what the performers describe themselves as,” he said.

He told the BBC the "hag" comment was an "intemperate" warning against someone else's use of social media. He added that he did not regret it and would not apologise.

“People want politicians who speak plainly, who are not constrained by political correctness,” he said. “The media needs to stop the endless witch hunt against politicians who make human errors.”

  • You can see a full list of candidates for the Melksham and Devizes constituency here.

John Edwards, the candidate for Southampton Test, referred to women appearing on ITV2's Love Island as "thick tarts" and the former leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson as a "gobby bird".

  • You can see a full list of candidates for the Southampton Test constituency here.

Sam Woods-Brass, the candidate for Houghton and Sunderland South, shared a photo of a raw chicken and said it reminded him of an erotic image of his girlfriend.

He then deleted the post after being approached by the BBC.

  • You can see a full list of candidates for the Houghton and Sunderland South constituency here.

Ian Gribbin, the candidate for Bexhill and Battle, who we previously revealed had written that the UK should have stayed neutral in World War Two, posted a series of comments on the UnHerd website which included saying: “Right now all men pay for all women: we pay 80% of tax and you take out 80%. The fact you’re able to write on a technological device is all down to us.

“The cultural feminisation of the west is a disaster of epic proportions. We have elevated female characteristics – especially neuroticism, to the highest levels. Hysteria is now common place. The evidence from repeated psychologically testing is that women are appalling at taking criticism.

“Modern feminism belongs in the sewer of self hate from which it came: you say it yourself, you’re all jealous of the perceived freedoms of men.”

  • You can see a full list of candidate for the Bexhill and Battle constituency here.

Emmett Jenner, the candidate for Ynys Mon, who shared a post from Conservative Party Headquarters which read: “PM: I want girls who are growing up today to know that they can achieve anything they want.”

Mr Jenner commented on the post: “Like fertilising eggs & providing Y chromosomes.”

In response to a request for comment, Mr Jenner told the BBC: “That is/was a parody account and you can see it is taking the Michael out of the Conservatives.

"I wouldn't take anything on there at face value, it's all deliberately provocative windups meant to elicit embarrassing responses.”

  • You can see a full list of candidates for the Ynys Mon constituency here.

Reform UK has already faced criticism about social media posts by some of its candidates that have emerged since the start of the campaign.

This week, the party threatened to take legal action against - a company it hired in April at a cost of £144,000 to vet hundreds of would-be candidates.

Party chairman Richard Tice accused the firm of having "promised a deep dive" but delivering "absolutely nothing". said in a statement it had expected the election to be in autumn and that it would have had all summer to complete the work.

It also said its automated systems needed the consent of the candidates involved to carry out the necessary checks.

Asked about the vetting issues in a BBC Panorama interview which aired on Friday, Mr Farage said: "Frankly, they [Reform UK] were so desperate for people to stand that people stood, and then we employed a big vetting company who didn't do the job.

"I can assure you that when the Labour Party go through those that apply, when the Conservative Party go through those that apply, they have to reject many."

He also said the party had had "an awful lot of candidates being stitched up in the most extraordinary way, with quotes taken out of context".

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