Reform UK 'drops candidate' who said BBC presenter should 'emigrate to a black only country'

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 7: A screen displays the Reform Party logo at the Reform Party annual conference on October 7, 2023 in London, England. The Reform Party was founded by members including Nigel Farage and its current leader is Richard Tice. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)
Reform UK candidate Ginny H Ball has been dropped over "racist" comments on social media. (Getty)

A Reform UK candidate has reportedly been dropped by the party after telling a BBC Radio presenter to “emigrate to a black-only country”.

Ginny H Ball was removed as Rutland and Stamford candidate for the next general election after several troubling comments from her profile on X, formerly Twitter, resurfaced on Tuesday.

One included a comment suggesting British-born BBC radio presenter Nihal Arthanayake should leave the UK. In a post responding to a Telegraph article from November 2023 in which Arthanayake questioned the lack of diversity at his workplace, Ball wrote: “Well emigrate to a black only country #simples.”

In another post, she suggested that British media personality Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu should be deported. In a separate message discussing the return of the Elgin Marbles to Greece, she said the UK “should give all immigrants back to their countries.”

When Paulette Hamilton was elected as Birmingham’s first black MP, she wrote “Staggered it is still called The black country …. or perhaps not”? In another tweet, she wrote that a “black bloke shooting people in a city centre should be deported preferably”.

According to both the Guardian and anti-racism charity Hope Not Hate, the messages have now led to her losing her Reform UK candidacy.

A message from Ginny H Ball's account. (X)
A message from Ginny H Ball's account. (X)
Another message on the former Reform UK candidate's X account. (X)
Another message on the former Reform UK candidate's X account. (X)

Hope Not Hate CEO Nick Lowles described Ball’s posts as “exceptionally racist and extreme”.

He told Yahoo News: “Whilst it’s right the Reform UK has swiftly dropped her as a candidate, the fact that someone with her racist views was drawn to the party in the first place is important to remember”

On Wednesday, Ball's account on X was made private and her biography no longer mentions her being a Reform UK candidate.

Reform told the Guardian it had removed her after several posts were brought to their attention on Tuesday. Yahoo News has contacted Reform UK and BBC for comment and tried to contact Ms Ball via her social media channels.

'Far right' apology

Reform UK has emerged as a political force to rival the Liberal Democrats in recent months with some polls suggesting it has overtaken Ed Davey’s party in popularity across the UK.

Reform, which is the successor to the Brexit Party, promotes itself as taking a "common sense" approach to issues such as healthcare, the cost of living crisis and immigration.

It was most recently in the news when former Tory party deputy chairman Lee Anderson defected to Reform after he accused London mayor Sadiq Khan of being controlled by "Islamists".

And on Monday, the BBC apologised to the party after labelling it “far right”.

It said: “In an article about the Liberal Democrats’ spring conference we wrongly described the political party Reform UK as far right when referring to polling.

“This sentence was subsequently removed from the article as it fell short of our usual editorial standards. While the original wording was based on news agency copy, we take full responsibility and apologise for the error.”

Reform UK leader Richard Tice described the “far right” description as “defamatory” and told GB News his lawyers had contacted the BBC.

Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, UK. 15th Mar, 2024. Richard Tice (left) and Lee Anderson stand on top of the open-top Reform UK battle bus and speak to supporters below during the Reform UK campaign day. Former Conservative MP, Lee Anderson visits his Ashfield constituency for the first time since defecting to Reform UK on the 11th March 2024 and becoming their first MP. (Credit Image: © Martin Pope/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire) EDITORIAL USAGE ONLY! Not for Commercial USAGE!
Richard Tice (left) and Lee Anderson after the latter's defection earlier this month. (PA)

What is Reform UK?

Reform UK was founded by former Ukip leader Nigel Farage as the 'Brexit Party' in 2018, with many of Ukip's former members becoming members. The party, which advocated hard-line euroscepticism and a no-deal Brexit, was re-registered as Reform UK in January 2021.

That same year, Farage stepped down and was replaced by party chairman Tice. Reform's name was tweaked to Reform UK: The Brexit Party in November 2023.

It has a hard line on immigration, saying: "Let’s have a proper immigration policy that works for our country and protects our borders. This means net zero immigration so we can train and support our own people. It means zero illegal immigration. Together, let’s make great things happen."

How much of a threat is Reform UK to the Conservatives?

Given immigration is one of the biggest challenges facing Rishi Sunak – from within his own party, too – Reform UK could be a realistic threat to the prime minister and the Tories in terms of taking voters who might otherwise have voted Tory.

Recent voting intention polling from YouGov shows Labour leading with 47 points, the Tories with 20 points and Reform polling not far short of the Conservatives with 13 points. Given that the same data taken in the middle of March last year saw Reform with six points and the Tories with 27 points, Conservatives are right to be concerned about where their support is going.

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