Kelvin MacKenzie says he ‘can’t vote’ for Reform UK after Nigel Farage ‘error’: ‘I find it massively challenging’

Kelvin MacKenzie says he ‘can’t vote’ for Reform UK after Nigel Farage ‘error’: ‘I find it massively challenging’
Kelvin Mackenzie on why he is no longer voting Reform UK
Ben Chapman

By Ben Chapman

Published: 25/06/2024

- 22:50

The ex-Sun editor had been weighing up voting for the insurgent party

Ex-Sun Editor Kelvin MacKenzie says he will not be voting for Reform in light of Nigel Farage’s comments on the Russia-Ukraine war.

On Friday the Reform chief told BBC’s The Panorama Interviews programme that “we provoked this war”, in references to countries in Eastern Europe signing up to Nato and the European Union, and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

He said on the Telegraph on Saturday that readers should not “blame” him for “telling the truth about Putin’s war”.

His comments have drawn criticism from across the political sphere, notably from ex-Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which prompted Farage to fire back.

Kelvin MacKenzie and Nigel Farage

Kelvin MacKenzie criticised Nigel Farage's comments


MacKenzie is the latest to add his name to the list of those criticising Farage, admitting the comments were enough to dissuade him from voting for the insurgent party.

“I am a natural Tory who was veering towards Reform because of the migration issue”, he said.

“Farage raising that issue, I find that massively challenging. I can’t with all honestly vote for somebody with that view on Putin.

“We need to defend Ukraine. We need to see Putin defeated. They’re defending France, they’re defending Poland, it’s massively important.

“To try and say, ‘do a deal, give up your bit of land’, imagine you’re a Pole and you’re listening to a major political figure in the UK who is sitting alongside thinking, ‘those guys are heading my way shortly’.

“I thought it was an error and I have been friendly with Nigel Farage for 30 years. I honestly feel he has made an error but he believes in it.”

Kelvin MacKenzie

Kelvin MacKenzie says he can't vote for Reform


Boris Johnson shared the Telegraph article to X, branding Farage’s comments “morally repugnant”.

Referring to the Telegraph article, he wrote: “This is nauseating historical drivel and more Kremlin propaganda.”

In Kent on Monday, Farage said he had been “more far-sighted” in predicting a war in Ukraine, telling the crowd: “This has been turned into ‘Farage makes outrageous statement’, ‘Farage defends Putin’ – well, I’ve done none of those things.

“I would never, ever defend Putin and I think his behaviour in Ukraine and elsewhere has been reprehensible.

Nigel FarageNigel Farage is the leader of Reform UKNigel Farage

“But if we’re going to think towards a peace at some time in the not too distant future, perhaps it might be helpful to understand what went wrong in the first place.”

Turning his fire on the former prime minister, Farage said: “Well, perhaps it’s Boris Johnson that’s morally repugnant and not me, I don’t know. But can you see the sheer level of hypocrisy? Can you see the nonsense of all of this?”

He added: “This man will go down as the worst prime minister of modern times. A man who betrayed an 80-seat majority. Who opened the door to mass immigration? Boris Johnson. Who betrayed the will of Brexit voters? It was Boris Johnson. He pretended to be a Conservative but he governed as a Green.”

The Reform UK leader went on: “There’s been precious little debate on defence, precious little debate about the state of our armed forces, precious little debate about how little we still do in this country for our veterans, and precious, precious almost no debate on foreign policy.”

He added: “I have no doubt that the world is in a more dangerous place right now than it’s been at any point since the Cuban missile crisis over 60 years ago.

“A couple of years back we would have thought war on a global scale was inconceivable, but we now all, don’t we, harbour that doubt and that worry at the back of our minds?”

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