Reform UK apologises after dropping candidate without knowing he died

Reform UK has issued an apology after its media team did not realise a candidate had died.

Tommy Cawkwell, a volunteer for the RNLI, passed away following his selection as a Reform UK candidate for York Central at the next general election.

However, Reform UK’s media team had told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that Mr Cawkwell had been dropped as a candidate for becoming “inactive” as a campaigner.

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Once the mistake had been brought to Reform UK’s attention, a spokesperson said: “The simple fact is that we have removed upwards of 50 candidates for complete inactivity and I know those who had been removed for disciplinary measures.

Reform UKReform UK
Reform UK

“Mr Cawkwell was clearly not one of those.

“Sadly I was unaware that he had died and I made an assumption based on the knowledge I possessed.

“I am mortified that my lack of care has caused his family pain, and I can only apologise profusely for my mistake.

“I do not know how to get hold of the family.

“If I did, I would apologise in person.”

Reform UK is now looking for another candidate to stand in York Central, as the party looks to stand against every Conservative at the next general election.

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It is also looking to replace Julie Wilson, the former candidate for York Outer, who has been dropped by the party.

Other candidates for Reform UK have been dropped for liking tweets by former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson and former British National Party leader Nick Griffin, as well as making racist remarks against Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and the First Minister of Scotland Humza Yousaf.

Another candidate made sexist remarks about Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner.

The Spectator magazine compiled a list of 10 candidates Reform UK has dropped for disciplinary reasons.

A Conservative Party spokesperson said: “This just shows that Reform is not the answer.”

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