Reform candidates 'fully-fledged humans' and 'not made of lorne sausage'

The party admits fielding 'paper candidates' at the General Election but insists they are all 'fully-fledged humans'.

Reform UK candidates in Scotland ‘fully-fledged humans’ and ‘not made of lorne sausage’ Reform UK

Reform UK has insisted all of its Scottish candidates at the General Election are “fully-fledged humans” amid accusations that some were fake.

Nigel Farage’s party admitted that it did field “paper candidates” but said they were all real people, adding that they were “not carved out of lorne sausage”.

Reform has faced questions about a number of its candidates after they appeared on the ballot but lacked any online presence, biographies or contact details.

Nigel Farage, leader of Reform UK, won a seat in Parliament for the first time.Getty Images

Concerns were also raised south of the border about the party’s Clapham and Brixton Hill candidate Mark Matlock after a campaign image appeared to have been AI-generated.

Some accused the candidate of being fake, but Matlock later confirmed he was real and said he was unable to campaign or attend the count because he was ill.

But he did admit to using AI for his campaign photo, which is based on a real-life picture, but said it was altered because his tie did not match Reform’s turquoise branding.

Some Reform candidates, such as Helen Burns in Glasgow North, appeared to have no social media presence during the election.

Reform UK overtook the Conservatives in every Glasgow constituency as well as a number of others across the central belt.

Some of its Scottish candidates were registered as living in England.

Helen Burns, who came fourth in Glasgow North, is registered as living in Leicestershire – about 300 miles away from the constituency.

Morag McRae, who ran for the Glasgow West seat, is registered as living in South Derbyshire, also around 300 miles away from the constituency.

The lack of information on some of the party’s candidates, as well as the AI image used by one, has prompted widespread speculation on social media.

It even led to Scottish comedian Kim Blythe flying down to London in a failed attempt to find her local Reform UK candidate.

Reform, which returned four MPs and won more than four million votes at the General Election, insisted all of its candidates in Scotland were real.

It said fielding “paper candidates” was no different from other parties.

A paper candidate usually refers to a person whose name is added to the ballot but does not necessarily actively campaign or expect to win the seat.

Essentially, it looks better for a party to field candidates in every constituency but if no local person is willing to stand, a party may find a member willing to add their name to the list.

‘We didn’t carve them out of lorne sausage’

Asked if Reform UK did this in Scotland, a spokesperson for the party told STV News: “Yes, we had paper candidates.

“It’s the same reason all the other parties have done for years.

“it is important to put people up to give the public the opportunity to vote for us.”

The party spokesperson said Reform did its “level best” to find people living in the constituency forward for the election.

But he added: “In cases where we could not find a candidate, other people put their names forward.

“Sadly we didn’t make a full slate across the UK.

“We didn’t carve them out of lorne sausage. These are fully-fledged humans.”

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