Change UK election candidate steps down over offensive tweets

Peter Walker Political correspondent


A second Change UK candidate for the European elections has stepped down within 24 hours of being announced after offensive tweets he apparently sent emerged.

Joseph Russo, who had been due to top the party’s list in Scotland, will no longer stand after posts emerged including one that said “black women scare me”.

The tweet, from 2012, went on to say: “I put this down to being chased through Amsterdam by a crazy black whore.”

It was unearthed by the journalist Alasdair Clark, who later tweeted a statement from Change UK saying Russo had stood down.

Russo’s Twitter profile has now apparently been deleted. Change UK has been contacted for comment.

He was among a series of candidates unveiled at a launch event in Bristol on Tuesday. Within hours of the names being announced, another hopeful, Ali Sadjady, stood down following the emergence of an “inappropriate tweet” posted in 2017.

He had reportedly expressed support for Brexit because, Sadjady said, “70% of the pickpockets caught on the [London Underground] are Romanian”.

The most high-profile candidate standing for the anti-Brexit party, made up of 11 former Labour and Conservative MPs, is the journalist Rachel Johnson, who is Boris Johnson’s sister.

Johnson said she was standing to make sure Brexit did not wreck the chances of a bright future for her children and other young people, and that her decision to stand was not an attack on her Brexiter brother.

The group’s interim leader, Heidi Allen, said 3,700 people from across the UK and from every background offered to stand to campaign for a “people’s vote” on Brexit.

Referring to the nickname for the group’s members and supporters, Allen called herself a proud “Tigger mum” and, with a nod to Star Wars, claimed: “This is no rebel alliance – this is the home of the remain alliance.”