Reform defended by Widdecombe after undercover footage exposes canvasser: 'We should listen to views we don't like!'

Reform defended by Widdecombe after undercover footage exposes canvasser: 'We should listen to views we don't like!'

WATCH NOW: Ann Widdecombe defends Reform UK after undercover investigation exposes canvasser

GB News
Georgia Pearce

By Georgia Pearce


Published: 28/06/2024

- 11:08

In the undercover footage, Andrew Parker told Channel 4 News that Islam is the 'most disgusting cult about'

Ann Widdecombe has defended Reform UK after a series of comments made by candidates and activists were revealed.

In an undercover investigation for Channel 4 News, Reform canvasser Andrew Parker was secretly filmed making racist and Islamophobic comments to potential voters on the ground.


Talking to a prospective voter on the doorstep, Parker spoke of the issue of migration, telling them: "You’ve got Deal, haven’t you. The place near Dover. Army recruitment.

"Get the young recruits there, with guns on the f****** beach, target practice. F****** just shoot them."

Andrew Parker and Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe has defended Reform after a canvasser was exposed in undercover footage

Channel 4 News / GB News

In a statement to Channel 4, Reform UK leader Nigel Farage condemned the comments made by canvassers in the undercover footage, and said those who made the remarks are "no longer with the campaign".

Farage said: "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 policy. Some of the language used was reprehensible."

In defence of Reform, Ann Widdecombe told GB News there needs to be a "distinction between candidates and supporters", as there is "no vetting process" for selection.

She claimed: "They roll up at campaign headquarters and they ask to distribute leaflets or whatever it is, and there's no vetting process, nor with any of the big parties.

Undercover footage

In the undercover footage, Parker told Channel 4 News that Islam is the 'most disgusting cult about'

Channel 4 News

"And unless you happen to recognise somebody and say, well, that's a good thing or, I'm not so sure, there is no way of deciding who comes and does that sort of work. There is a vetting process which has failed in one or two cases. But also, I think we should listen to people who have views that maybe we don't like."

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Responding to the comments made by supporters in Clacton, she said: "Well of course that's awful. I'm not going to say that it’s not but on the other hand, what you've said is ‘a man canvassing.’ You haven't said a candidate.

"And as I say, it is very difficult to vet every individual who volunteers to help."

Recalling her own experience with canvassing for the Conservatives, she added: "When I was helping the Conservatives in the young days when I wasn’t known to anybody, I used to roll up at the campaign headquarters, and I used to say, can I go canvassing, please? And I'd be handed canvas cards. They didn't know what I was going to say on the door.

"We've rather lost the habit of being able to do listen to views we don't like and of course, once somebody does pounce on a view, it becomes exaggerated and a feeding frenzy follows, and I think that's rather a sad development."

Ann Widdecombe

Ann Widdecombe says we should 'listen to views we don't like'

GB News

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In a statement, Andrew Parker told Channel 4: "I would like to make it clear that neither Nigel Farage personally or the Reform Party are aware of my personal views on immigration.

"I have never discussed Immigration with either Nigel Farage or the Reform Party and that any comments made by me during those recordings are my own personal views on any subject I commented on. At no time before I was sent out to canvass did I discuss my personal views with any representative of the Reform Party or Nigel Farage.

"I would therefore like to apologise profusely to Nigel Farage and the Reform Party if my personal views have reflected badly on them and brought them into disrepute as this was not my intention.

"I offered to help the Reform Party on their canvassing as I believe that they are the only party that offer the UK voter a practical solution to the illegal immigration problem that we have in the UK."

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