Two candidates for the pro-Remain Change UK (CUK) have resigned just two days after after the party launch over “offensive Twitter posts” about black women, Catholics, and Romanian migrants.
The first resignation from the Europhile party — which wants to retain membership of the EU and supports the uncontrolled free movement people — came the day of the launch on Tuesday, when a tweet surfaced of Ali Sadjady describing Romanian migrants as “pick pockets.”
In the social media post from November 2017, the former Tory and mix-martial arts fighter had written, “When I hear that 70% of pick pockets caught on the London Underground are Romanian it kind makes me want Brexit.”
Apologising and feeling “embarrassed”, Mr Sadjady told the Evening Standard that the comment “definitely doesn’t reflect my views” and said it came in response to a friend being robbed at the time.
“I think these things should be highlighted,” he continued, “I think this is a serious issue. Talking about racism, xenophobia, misogyny, I think these should all be highlighted and if it is at my expense then fine.”
In further uncovered tweets the candidate, whose party is campaigning for a second referendum, had called Labour’s London Mayor Sadiq Khan a “joke of a man” for advocating for just that, adding, “To those petitioning for a second EU referendum, don’t you believe in democracy or does it not apply when things don’t go your way?”
CUK Party Launch: Down to Earth Candidates Include Yoga Teacher and Ex-BBC Presenter https://t.co/qHbekESCiH
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 23, 2019
On Wednesday, Scotland’s lead candidate for the liberal-progressive group Joseph Russo was forced to step down after writing in a now-deleted tweet that he was afraid of black women.
Mr Russo had written in 2012, according to The Times, “Black women scare me. I put this down to be[ing] chased through Amsterdam by a crazy black whore.”
In 2013, he said that a Domino’s pizza restaurant was “owned by a loony Catholic” and again in 2012 criticised the police for “targeting low hanging fruit” after arresting former Glam rocker and convicted sex offender Gary Glitter for historic child sex offences.
In response to Mr Russo’s comments, a CUK party spokesman said, “We have been made aware of several offensive Twitter posts. We have discussed this with Joseph Russo and it has been agreed that he will stand down and is no longer on our list of candidates.”
Mr Russo subsequently resigned, saying he was “not fully prepared” for the “personal scrutiny” he had to endure after “offensive” Twitter posts were revealed, according to the BBC.
At the party launch on Tuesday, headed by Chuka Umunna, Anna Soubry, and Heidi Allen (pictured), lead candidate and former BBC journalist Gavin Esler had condemned Brexit campaigners for so-called “hate speech,” calling their campaign “nasty, it’s mean, and they’re wrong.”