Reform candidate apologises after suggesting UK should have 'taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality'

10 June 2024, 19:23

Reform candidate Ian Gribbin apologises after suggesting UK should have 'taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality'
Reform candidate Ian Gribbin apologises after suggesting UK should have 'taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality'. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle de Wolfe

A Reform UK candidate has been forced to apologise after suggesting the country would have been “far better” off if it had “taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality” during the Second World War.

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Reform UK candidate, Ian Gribbin, who is representing the party in Bexhill and Battle, made the shocking claims in a 2022 online post on Unherd magazine.

In addition to suggesting that the UK should not have fought the Nazis, further comments made by Gribbin labelled Winston Churchill "abysmal", praised Russian President Vladimir Putin and labelled women a "sponging gender" who should be "deprived of health care".

Mr Gribbin has now apologised "unreservedly" but maintains the comments were "taken out of context".

Shortly after the comments first surfaced, a Reform UK spokesperson chose to defend the remarks, labelling those against women "tongue in cheek".

They added that comments made about the Nazi Germany were "written with an eye to inconvenient perspectives and truths".

It comes as Suella Braverman called on the Conservatives to "welcome" Nigel Farage into the party in order to "unite the right".

Reform UK candidate, Ian Gribbin, who is representing the party in Bexhill and Battle, made the shocking claims in a 2022 online post on Unherd magazine.
Reform UK candidate, Ian Gribbin, who is representing the party in Bexhill and Battle, made the shocking claims in a 2022 online post on Unherd magazine. Picture: Reform UK

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage then added that his party "ran out of time" when it came to vetting candidates thoroughly, and all parties "will suffer" from such limitations during the election.

Mr Gribbin said in a statement: "I apologise for these old comments and withdraw them unreservedly. I further apologise for the upset that they have caused.

"I myself am upset at the way these comments were taken out of context especially when my mother was the daughter of Russian Jews fleeing persecution."

Read more: Suella Braverman says Conservatives should 'welcome' Nigel Farage to 'unite the right'

Read more: Carry on campaigning: Rishi Sunak vows to 'fight on' and says he won't quit despite polling - and D-Day fiasco

The comments, unearthed by the BBC, saw Mr Gribbin post online: "Britain would be in a far better state today had we taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality…. but oh no Britain’s warped mindset values weird notions of international morality rather than looking after its own people."

Later that same month, he wrote: "In Britain specifically we need to exorcise the cult of Churchill and recognize that in both policy and military strategy, he was abysmal."

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage then added that his party "ran out of time" when it came to vetting candidates thoroughly,  and all parties "will suffer" from such limitations during the election.
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage then added that his party "ran out of time" when it came to vetting candidates thoroughly, and all parties "will suffer" from such limitations during the election. Picture: Alamy

One month earlier, on the same website, he was seen to make misogynistic comments towards women, writing on a message board: "Do you think you could actually work and pay for it all too like good citizens?

"Men pay 80% of tax – women spend 80% of tax revenue. On aggregate as a group you only take from society.

"Less complaining please from the 'sponging gender'.

"He added that women are "subsidised by men to merely breath (sic)," he added.

It follows comments from the Tories' former Home Secretary, in which she said there was "not much difference" between Mr Farage's Reform UK party and the Conservatives in terms of policy.

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