Richard Tice issues statement on ‘disturbing’ Rochdale by-election

Richard Tice has issued a statement on the Rochdale by-election as he has told his staff to leave the event over safety threats.

The Reform UK leader told GB News that he believes George Galloway has won the Rochdale by-election and continued by adding that the event was not truly “free or fair” due to the behaviour of the candidates.

Tice described the campaign as having been mired by “disturbing scenes” including abuse and death threats.

He continued by saying he had removed his staff from the count for security reasons and that the Rochdale by-election must be a wake-up call for British democracy.

Tice said: “Now the polls have closed, people across the UK need to know the truth about this election campaign – and the implications for our democracy.

“To suggest that a parliamentary election in this country has not been truly free and fair is a very serious allegation indeed.

“Unfortunately however, the behaviour of certain candidates and their supporters in this contest fell very far short of this our traditional democratic standards. What we have witnessed and experienced in Rochdale is deeply disturbing.

“In recent weeks, Reform UK’s candidate and campaign team has: been subjected to death threats; suffered vile racist abuse; been refused entry to hustings in a public building; had to be relocated for their own safety; suffered daily intimidation and slurs.

“In one incident, Reform UK business supporters were threatened with a firebomb attack if they distributed our leaflets.

“Menacing behaviour was a feature of the entire campaign, including outside polling stations on the day of the election itself.

“In this ugliest of contests, we are also concerned by the sudden increase in the size of the postal vote, which has jumped from 14,000 to some 23,000 in this constituency since the last general election.

“The results of the Rochdale by-election should act as a stark wake-up call to those in power – and the entire electorate.

“This is Britain. We are supposed to be a beacon of democracy. This shameful contest has been more characteristic of a failed state.

“Unless something dramatic changes, our fear is that it will be repeated in dozens of constituencies across the UK at the general election. By Christmas, we face the prospect of numerous extremist anti-Semitic lawmakers in the House of Commons.”

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