Reform UK Nottinghamshire candidate threatens Conservative opponent with legal action

Frank Ward, standing for Reform UK in Bassetlaw, wearing a suit and the party's blue rosette
-Credit: (Image: Submitted)

A Reform UK candidate in Nottinghamshire has threatened his Conservative opponent with legal action over claims of anti-Semitism. Frank Ward, standing for Nigel Farage's party in Bassetlaw, has been accused of making anti-Semitic comments at a public general election hustings held at The Grove church in Retford on June 24.

Audio taken from the hustings includes Mr Ward telling the audience: "The UK government would do well to honour a pledge made to the Palestinians in the First World War. In exchange for their contribution in fighting Germany, the British government would assist them to establish a Palestinian state.

"A similar pledge was made earlier to the Jews promising an Israeli state in exchange for borrowing cheap money to assist the funding of the war. Later, only the pledge to the Jews was honoured. Therefore, is there any wonder the Palestinians are resentful and angry at the Jews."

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Mr Ward stood by his claims in comments given to The Sun newspaper, but has denied they are anti-Semitic. Brendan Clarke-Smith, standing for the Conservatives in Bassetlaw, posted on X: "It's outrageous [that Reform UK] are standing candidates who are unvetted and peddling anti-Semitic conspiracy theories such as this.

"These views have no place in Bassetlaw or anywhere else..." Lord John Mann, the Government's adviser on anti-Semitism and the former Labour MP for Bassetlaw, also condemned the comments by writing: "The statements by Frank Ward, Reform candidate in Bassetlaw, are totally unacceptable. His Sun newspaper quotes go beyond his confused ramblings straight into anti-Semitic conspiracy theory."

In a statement released on Wednesday (July 3), Mr Ward has denied that he is anti-Semitic. The Reform UK candidate has written a letter to Mr Clarke-Smith threatening legal action.

His letter says: "During the previous four weeks while other candidates seeking election as the member of parliament for the constituency of Bassetlaw have been doorstep canvassing and meeting directly with residents, you have chosen to adopt more sinister tactics to propagate your appeal to voters using social media, the Sun newspaper and a brief appearance on GB News TV, the latter of which I have requested be investigated for alleged breach of the Representation of the People Act .

"Within that brief period, you have allegedly implied that I am a racist, a supporter of Hamas terrorist group who committed an act of genocide on 7th October 2023 and latterly an anti-Semite, all of which is evidently intended to besmirch and sully my candidature as a Reform UK parliamentary candidate.

"I am therefore compelled to inform you that unless you desist from making further comments either publicly or in private which are also evidently intended to smear my candidature, I will instruct my solicitor to prepare an action of litigation against you to be heard in a court of law for defamation of character and libel of my person."

Mr Clarke-Smith said his appearance on GB News did not discuss the elections and that his earlier tweets about Frank Ward were made before the close of nominations. Below are all the candidates, presented in alphabetical order by surname, for Bassetlaw.


Brendan Clarke-Smith


Rachel Reeves

Liberal Democrats

Helen Tamblyn-Saville

Reform UK

Frank Ward


Jo White