'This is how ordinary people speak': Farage defends Reform UK candidates after anti-Islam and far-right comments exposed

13 June 2024, 08:41 | Updated: 13 June 2024, 09:39

Nigel Farage in the LBC studio today and (right) on the Reform UK campaign bus in Barnsley, South Yorkshire this week
Nigel Farage in the LBC studio today and (right) on the Reform UK campaign bus in Barnsley, South Yorkshire this week. Picture: Alamy

By Asher McShane

Nigel Farage has defended comments made by Reform UK candidates after LBC exposed one who said ‘Islam and Nazis are the same thing’ during a public rant in 2017.

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Mr Farage said it was ‘utter cobblers’ that Reform UK candidates had voiced ’Nazi sympathies’ as he took calls from listeners on LBC this morning.

He was confronted on air with comments made by individuals standing for Reform UK, including one who described the pandemic as a ‘health holocaust’ and a another who said vaccine firms were like ‘Nazi armament companies.”

Mr Farage dismissed the remarks, saying: “People chuck stuff around on Facebook and they like comments.”

Nigel Farage in a heated on-air exchange on LBC this morning
Nigel Farage in a heated on-air exchange on LBC this morning. Picture: LBC

On keeping the candidates in the party, he said: “I can disown them but I can’t deselect them.”

Nick Ferrari confronted Mr Farage after LBC unearthed comments made by Reform UK candidate Steve Chilcott, who said ‘Islam and Nazis are the same thing’ during a public 2017 rant.

Earlier this week the Times reported on a Reform UK candidate who said Britain should have been ‘neutral on Hitler’.

Ian Gribbin also praised President Putin and said women should be denied healthcare.

The party has stood by him, but Gribbin later apologised saying his comments had been “taken out of context.”

Reform candidate rants that ‘Islam and Nazis are the same thing’ in unearthed footage

Asked this morning about Reform UK candidate Steve Chilcott's comments, Mr Farage said: “Never heard of him.”

He angrily replied to Nick: “They are ordinary people. That’s how people out there speak. That’s how they feel.

“People are allowed to have opinions. People are allowed to express views.

“I’m scared of all fanaticisms. A very prominent businessman who happens to be a follower of Islam has joined our party.”

“What is worrying is Islamism, extremism.”

On the prospect of disciplining candidates for their views, Mr Farage said: “What can you do? The name is on the ballot paper I can’t remove it.”

Read more: 'I'm not going to surrender to the mob': Farage blames ‘angry left’ and social media after milkshake attacks

Read more: Reform candidate rants that ‘Islam and Nazis are the same thing’ in unearthed footage

Nigel Farage ducks for cover as an object is hurled at him on the Reform UK bus
Nigel Farage ducks for cover as an object is hurled at him on the Reform UK bus. Picture: Alamy

In a wide-ranging phone-in Mr Farage also said he'd never seen a Frenchman who works after lunch, and said the Germans need to 'get a sense of humour' over divisive football chants.

His comments come after LBC unearthed video of father of one Steve Chilcott, who’s standing in the Ealing Southall constituency in West London in which he also said Paris was “full of Islamic, immigrant, scum”.

LBC has also unearthed previously unseen footage, filmed by one of our reporters in 2018, of Mr Chilcott saying the “only reason” Islam was growing was because of a “lack of contraception”.

In the YouTube video from 2017, he likened the religion to the Nazis, saying: “They both want to kill Jews.

“They both hate homosexuals, they both want to kill homosexuals.

“Islam; Nazis - they are the same thing”.

Steve Chilcott describes himself as being a “very strong advocate for free speech” having moved his political support from the Lib Dems, to Labour, to UKIP, the Brexit Party and now Reform.

Mr Farage also vowed not to "surrender to the mob" after having a milkshake thrown in his face and other objects hurled at him in two separate attacks.

The Reform UK leader told LBC's Nick Ferrari at Breakfast that the reasons he had been targeted twice while out campaigning was that he challenges the political consensus, and he gets out and about with ordinary voters.

Mr Farage was forced to duck for cover on Tuesday after a man hurled a missile at him while he was out campaigning. Last week a woman threw a milkshake on his face.Two people have since been charged in connection with the assaults.Mr Farage told Nick that there were two reasons why people want to throw things at him.

"One is that I'm the only political figure that walks into crowds of people. All the rest it's a factory with 20 staff [who are told] 'don't say a word or you'll be sacked'."

He added that the second reason was that he dares "to break the consensus," adding: "I dare to talk about things no one else is willing to touch," such as immigration.

Mr Farage said that the Conservatives were "scared of the mob."

He also told Nick he would lead a 'centre-right' party and could stand against Labour, blaming David Cameron and George Osborne for turning the Tories into a "socialist democrat" party during this morning's LBC phone-in.

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