Richard Tice refuses to back Nigel Farage’s Ukraine comments in fiery clash with BBC’s Nick Robinson

Reform chair Richard Tice refused to endorse Nigel Farage’s views on the Ukraine-Russia conflict in a tetchy clash with the BBC’s Nick Robinson.

Mr Tice was asked on Radio 4’s Today programme if he thought it was a mistake for Reform’s party leader to say that the West provoked Russia’s war with Ukraine.

He said: “Let me tell you what’s a mistake, it’s a mistake to pretend we’ve got everything right. To pretend that we’ve never made any foreign policy mistakes whether its this country or other countries. You look at what Nigel talked about, Libya, Syria, we’ve made serious foreign policy mistakes.”

Mr Robinson repeatedly asked: “did we provoke the war in Ukraine”, to which Mr Tice responded that Putin is “vile” and that he created the problems in Ukraine.

The BBC presenter challenged Mr Tice that he would not repeat Mr Farage’s words.

Mr Tice responded: “You seem obsessed by one word, what I’m obsessed by is learning the mistakes of the past and having the courage to say we can do better, we only do better if you learn from the past, on what you’ve got right and what you’ve got wrong.”

The Reform chair has previously visited Ukraine as part of a volunteer groupt to deliver supplies to the embattled nation and that they are fighting for “the freedom of the West”.

It was not the first time the duo clashed. At the start of the interview Mr Tice accused the presenter of repeating “absolute nonsense” about the party during the introduction.

Mr Robinson set up the interview by saying that some voters could be turned off by the extreme opinions of some of the Reform UK candidates or volunteers.

A clearly irate Mr Tice, responded: “Let me tell you, on the doors where I am campaigning support is absolutely rock solid like we have never known before.

“People are not buying into this absolute nonsense being perpetrated.”

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage claimed last month during a BBC interview that the West ‘provoked’ Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Reform UK leader Nigel Farage claimed last month during a BBC interview that the West ‘provoked’ Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mr Tice was also questioned about the undercover footage, made by a Channel 4 reporter, that showed a canvasser describe the Pride flag as “degenerate” and suggested members of the LGBT community are paedophiles.

The Reform chair said the comments were “completely inappropriate”, but that the party is “growing fast” and will learn from its mistakes.

Asked about if the Conservative Party needed to be destroyed, he said: “You cannot reward failure and the Tories have broken Britain after 14 years of power. And the reality is that there has to be a complete realignment of the right of politics.

“Labour will win this election but the Tories desperation creating a culture of fear, people are just sick of it. You cannot reward failure, people want a new common sense approach.”

The heated exchange came hours before a second Reform candidate defected to Tories ahead of polling day, claiming her former party’s candidates are “racist, misogynistic and bigoted”.

Georgie David, who had been due to stand for Reform in West Ham and Beckton, said in a statement issued by the Conservative Party: “I am hereby announcing my decision to leave the Reform Party and stand down as their candidate for West Ham and Beckton, with immediate effect.

“I am in no doubt that the party and its senior leadership are not racist.

“However, as the vast majority of candidates are indeed racist, misogynistic, and bigoted, I do not wish to be directly associated with people who hold such views that are so vastly opposing to my own and what I stand for.”