Reform candidate compared Covid rules to Holocaust

‌Jake Fraser is standing for Reform UK in Widnes and Halewood
‌Jake Fraser is standing for Reform UK in Widnes and Halewood

A Reform UK candidate compared the Government’s pandemic response to the Holocaust, it has emerged.

‌Jake Fraser, who is standing for Nigel Farage’s party in Widnes and Halewood, likened the introduction of vaccine passes for holidays to the genocide of Jewish people during the Second World War.

‌It comes after a row between Reform and a vetting firm it paid £144,000 to weed out unsuitable parliamentary candidates, with Mr Farage threatening the company with legal action after a series of disclosures about would-be MPs.

‌In comments made in 2021 and first reported by The Daily Mail, Mr Fraser wrote on social media: “We’re on the precipice of a health Holocaust.

‌“The same methodology the Nazis used to rise to power, with minimal opposition by appealing to both sides of the political spectrum... is unfolding before our eyes.”

‘Observation of behaviour’

Following the comments coming to light, Mr Fraser has said: “As a small-time polemicist, the rhetoric was a tip of the hat to parallels of totalitarianism employed by National Socialists during the rise of Hitler prior to (not during) the Jewish Holocaust.

‌“As stated in my Facebook post, similar tactics of appealing to both sides of the political spectrum were adopted by the so-called ‘Conservative’ Party, as did Hitler on his rise to power.

‌“It wasn’t likening Britain during the pandemic to Nazi Germany, it was an observation of the behaviour of the ‘Conservatives’, and indeed other public figures and institutions on the world stage, but the polemic was directed at the sitting government, after all, it was them who were making the decisions.”

‌Last year, Andrew Bridgen was stripped of the Conservative whip and subsequently expelled from the party after claiming the Covid vaccine rollout constituted the “biggest crime against humanity since the Holocaust”.

The candidate for North West Leicestershire was kicked out of the Tory Party after a formal disciplinary process which followed Jewish groups demanding action over his “unconscionable” comment.

‘Borderline the Holocaust’

‌Angela Carter-Begbie, the Reform candidate for Queen’s Park and Maida Vale on July 4, posted on social media to defend Mr Bridgen following his suspension.

‌“It’s true,” Ms Carter-Begbie wrote. “The behaviour of the jabbed towards the unjabbed was borderline the Holocaust.”

‌A third Reform candidate – Peter Durnell, who is running in the West Midlands constituency of Smethwick – also appeared to make comparisons between Nazi Germany and Covid restrictions in a post in 2020.

‌“[The] idea that elderly and/or infirm should be forcibly isolated, virtually indefinitely, is one which fits better with 1940s Germany than a modern-day democracy,” he said.

‌And John Edwards, standing for Mr Farage’s party in Southampton Test, criticised a Canadian railway company that “tells vaccinated travellers to wear a yellow sticker”, before adding: “Nazi Germany did something similar.”

In a statement first given to The Daily Mail, he said “certain actions” by governments during the pandemic “would be something you would normally expect to emanate from a totalitarian state”.

‘Desperate drivel’

‌Richard Tice, the chairman of Reform who led the party until making way for Mr Farage earlier this month, dismissed the remarks as “another desperate round of drivel from the despairing Mail”.

‌“Apparently it was a deep sin to speak against disastrous lockdown policies that caused huge damage to our economy, ruined children’s development and increased the mental health crisis,” he said.

The Reform party has committed to a public inquiry into excess deaths and harms caused by the Covid vaccine.

‌Mr Tice said in February there was a “serious problem” with thousands more people dying than expected, suggesting the side-effects of coronavirus jabs could be responsible.

‌Government health advisers have said Covid vaccines saved countless lives and are recommended for the vulnerable, a view supported by many independent scientists.

‌A rise in excess deaths has been blamed on record NHS waiting lists and the pandemic backlog, but Mr Tice argues it is a “serious problem… that nobody in the Government wants to talk about”.

Candidate vetting issues

‌This week, Mr Farage threatened to sue Vetting.com after the company signed a contract promising to carry out social media checks on named individuals.

But Reform has nonetheless been hit by a number of revelations about its candidates, including one who described Hitler as “brilliant” at using personality traits to “inspire people to action”.

‌The screening company is co-owned by Colin Bloom, who worked as the Conservative Party’s faith engagement adviser under Boris Johnson but ended his formal relationship with Number 10 when Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister.

Vetting.com has blamed the timing of the snap election called by Mr Sunak for its inability to complete candidate checks on time, insisting Mr Bloom was “politically neutral”.

‌Mr Fraser, Ms Carter-Begbie and Mr Durnell were contacted for comment.