Reform UK candidate stated Britain mustn’t have fought Hitler

A Reform UK candidate once claimed that Britain should have “taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality” instead of fighting the Nazis during the Second World War.

Ian Gribbin, who is standing for the right-wing party in Bexhill and Battle, in East Sussex, also branded Winston Churchill as “abysmal” and praised Russian President Vladimir Putin in series of online rants obtained by the BBC. In posts on the Unherd website in 2022, Mr Gribbin also said women were the “sponging gender” and should be “deprived of healthcare”.

In July 2022, Mr Gribbin wrote: “Britain would be in a far better state today had we taken Hitler up on his offer of neutrality…. but oh no Britain’s warped mindset values weird notions of international morality rather than looking after its own people.” In a separate post that month, wrote: “In Britain specifically we need to exorcise the cult of Churchill and recognize that in both policy and military strategy, he was abysmal.”

A Reform UK spokesman claimed the posts were not endorsements and accused journalists of “offence archaeology”. But the insurgent party will come under pressure to act over the comments, which come as party leader Nigel Farage sought to capitalise on Rishi Sunak’s disastrous decision to leave the D-Day commemorations early.

Nigel Farage gave an election speech today

Nigel Farage said there would be ‘candidate controversy’ for all parties due to the rush to select people to stand in the snap election
Getty Images)

Mr Farage said that “every party will suffer” from candidate controversy due to the speed of the election when grilled on the posts at an event in Westminster today. He said: “They’ve got a bigger problem in the Green Party. They’ve had to suspend 20 of their candidates for putting out pretty vile anti-Semitic tweets.

“Here’s something, I think every party will suffer because it was a snap election. We’ve put in place a good vetting programme, but we’ve run out of time.”

Party chairman Richard Tice added: “We’re really pleased with all candidates. When people do inappropriate things, say daft things then of course we’ll look at it and investigate it and that’s what we do.”

In June 2022, Mr Gribbin also wrote on the site’s message board: “Do you think you could actually work and pay for it all too like good citizens? Men pay 80% of tax – women spend 80% of tax revenue. On aggregate as a group you only take from society. Less complaining please from the ‘sponging gender’.” He added that women are “subsidised by men to merely breath (sic)”.

He also praised President Putin before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In January 2022, Mr Gribbin wrote that the Kremlin tyrant had “shown a maturity of which we can only dream of”. He “understands the bonds that create more stable societies; the hypocrisy of the West is preposterous as we stare in the face daily the enormous economic equalities created by our deluded neo liberal ideas”, he wrote. In February, Mr Gribbin wrote “if only the West had politicians of his class”.

A Reform UK spokesman said: “Through offence archaeology the BBC has found that Mr Gribbin has made a series of comments about a number of subjects. They were written with an eye to inconvenient perspectives and truths. That doesn’t make them endorsements, just arguing points in long distance debates.

“His historical perspective of what the UK could have done in the 30s was shared by the vast majority of the British establishment including the BBC of its day, and is probably true. Again no endorsement, just pointing out conveniently forgotten truths. As for the feminism point, his tongue is so firmly in his cheek one should be able to spot it from 100 yards.”

Mr Gribbin was approached for comment by the Mirror. He declined to comment to the BBC.