Change UK candidate Ali Sadjady quits after pro-Brexit, anti-Romanian tweet unearthed | Politics News
Less than nine hours after announcing that he would stand in the European elections, a Change UK candidate has pulled out after an old tweet resurfaced in which he said he would back Brexit if it stopped Romanian pickpockets.
Ali Sadjady, a mixed martial arts fighter and a former Conservative who stood to be a South Acton councillor last year, was among the line-up of would-be MEPs unveiled during an event in Bristol on Tuesday.
He was shaping up to contest a London seat for the newly formed Remainer party, but it has since been confirmed that he has stood down.
The decision came after The Independent uncovered comments made by Mr Sadjady on Twitter two years ago, which saw him accused of committing “hate speech” against EU citizens.
One of his tweets from November 2017 said: “When I hear that 70% of pickpockets caught on the London Underground are Romanian it kind of makes me want Brexit.”
He also dismissed those seeking a second referendum as not believing in democracy – a rather awkward stance to take considering Change UK are committed to campaigning for one.
Responding to the revelations, the party tweeted: “Following discussions, Ali Sadjady has reflected on his inappropriate tweet from 2017 and agreed to stand down from the list of potential candidates.”
Mr Sadjady, who has deleted the controversial tweets, said he would continue to support the party because of its “real positivity”, and was happy to stand down “so as not to tarnish their reputation”.
In a statement, he said: “I apologise if I have offended with some of my past tweets, anyone that knows me, knows that they are not representative of who I am and everyday I am trying to be the best version of myself.”
Change UK had picked 70 people from a mix of backgrounds to stand in the European elections on 23 May, although the government is still hoping the ballot can be avoided.
If they do go ahead, two big hitters hoping to claim a seat for the new group are Rachel Johnson and Gavin Esler, the latter saying British politics has become a “worldwide joke”.
At a news conference, Sky News challenged Change UK to say what a good result would be.
MP Chris Leslie dodged the question, responding that: “Our aim is to give the public a choice to clearly and unequivocally call for a people’s vote.”