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Farage claims Reform UK has been ‘stitched up’ over candidate vetting

Nigel Farage said Reform had paid ‘a large sum of money’ to a firm to scrutinise its candidates but has been let down.

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has claimed his party has been “stitched up” by a firm it contracted to vet candidates.

The party has been hit by a series of revelations about the online activities of some of its would-be MPs, from links to a British fascist leader to suggestions the UK should have remained neutral in the fight against the Nazis and admiration of Hitler’s “brilliant” ability to inspire action.

Mr Farage said Reform had paid a “large sum of money” to the vetting firm, which he did not name, but claimed the party has been let down.

General Election campaign 2024
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage said the party has been ‘stitched up’ over vetting of candidates (Ben Birchall/PA)

He told LBC Radio: “Have we had trouble with one or two candidates? Yes, we have.

“We paid a large sum of money to a well-known vetting company, and they didn’t do the work.

“We have been stitched up politically, and that’s given us problems. And I accept that and I’m sorry for that.”

He dismissed as “utter nonsense” questions about candidate Jack Aaron, who is standing against Defence Secretary Grant Shapps in Welwyn Hatfield, over comments about Hitler’s personality traits.

Mr Aaron said in a social media post in 2022 that Hitler “was basically incoherent in his writing and rationale” but was “brilliant” at using specific personality traits “to inspire people into action”.

Asked about the suggestion that Mr Aaron thought Hitler was “brilliant”, Mr Farage said: “This is utter nonsense. It’s rather like… if you asked me, you know, was Hitler a good public speaker? And I say yes – suddenly I’m a supporter.

“This is nonsense.”

Mr Aaron told The Times: “Yes, Hitler was as brilliant as he was utter evil. How is that controversial to say, given that he was able to turn the Germans to such destructive acts, including killing many members of my own family?

“I strongly believe, as a psychologist, in separating intelligence and talent from morality, so that we can adequately diagnose problems and help people.”

Last week Mr Farage suggested the earlier-than-expected timing of the General Election meant vetting had not been possible.

“Don’t forget, I’ve come in right at the last minute, we have not had time to do full vetting of candidates. It’s been impossible for us,” he said.

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