Reform candidate ‘said he wanted to slaughter migrants and have their families taken out’

A Reform UK candidate has reportedly said he would “slaughter” migrants arriving on small boats.

Leslie Lilley, 70, who is forecast to secure almost 20 per cent of the vote in Southend East and Rochford, Essex, allegedly made the threat on the official Facebook account he uses to run his local campaign.

Reacting to the news of small boat arrivals in a post in June 2020, he is reported to have said: “I hope I’m near one of these scumbags one day I won’t run away I’ll slaughter them then have their family taken out.”

The same month, Mr Lilley reportedly hit out at “more scum entering the UK”, adding: “I hope your family get robbed, beaten or attacked.”

According to The Times, he also suggested Border Force vessels should have razor wire to tear small boats carrying migrants across the Channel. Under a video of Muslims praying, he is said to have commented “gas” with several laughing emojis.

Mr Lilley previously argued that the pandemic was a plan to “depopulate the world” and was “mass murder by government”.

He is one of the 41 Reform UK candidates who are “friends” on Facebook with Gary Raikes, a former organizer for the British National Party who founded the New British Union in the image of Oswald Mosley’s British Union of Fascists, with activists who call themselves blackshirts.

Mr Lilley is the latest candidate to be exposed for appearing to make extreme comments. Nigel Farage, the Reform leader, has blamed the party’s vetting company and has threatened legal action against them.

The vetting company has blamed the timing of the election for its inability to complete the checks in time.

Reform has dropped and replaced several candidates for controversial comments on social media, though only one candidate has been suspended since formal nominations closed on June 7.

Grant StClair-Armstrong, who is standing against Kemi Badenoch in the North West Essex constituency, will still appear on the ballot paper along with the Reform UK name, but if elected he would be an independent.

He was dropped by the party after comments found by The Times in which he called on people to vote for the BNP.

Reform did not comment despite three requests to do so. He has previously said that his candidates are “not political zombies” and that the party was “proud that they think and speak like the ordinary people they are”.

A spokesperson has previously said that candidates “have views of their own and are as free to express them as anyone else, even if they are not shared by all their party colleagues.”

Mr Lilley has been contacted for comment.

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