Three Reform UK candidates dropped after Nigel Farage quizzed over offensive comments

Three Reform UK candidates have been dropped by the party after they made offensive comments.

The trio - Edward Oakenfull, who is standing in Derbyshire Dales; Robert Lomas, in Barnsley North, and Leslie Lilley in Southend East and Rochford - were all criticised by party leader Nigel Farage on Friday’s BBC Question Time.

Mr Oakenfull made insulting comments about African people, while Mr Lomas reportedly said black people should stop acting "like savages" and Mr Lilley said people crossing the channel on small boats were “scum”.

Mr Farage, who said he had “inherited” a “start-up party”, was asked if he would withdraw support from them and said: “I wouldn’t want anything to do with them.”

But all three will still appear on the ballot paper as Reform candidates as it is too late for them to be removed, though would not be given the party whip if elected.

It comes as Reform UK has said it has reported Channel 4 to the Electoral Commission, after the broadcaster released footage of an activist campaigning for Nigel Farage using a racial slur to describe Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

Campaigner Andrew Parker also suggested migrants should be used as “target practice” in the recording by an undercover journalist.

In a letter to the Electoral Commission, the party’s secretary Adam Richardson claimed it was “entirely evident that Mr Parker was a plant within the Channel 4 news piece”.

He added: “The Channel 4 broadcast has clearly been made to harm Reform UK during an election period and this cannot be described as anything short of election interference.”

Channel 4 has said it stands by its journalism and denied the piece was concocted in any way.