Hertsmere residents were facing a ballot-box headache this week, after a UKIP candidate said “Hamas needs support” and the Tory hopeful for the Cowley Hill Ward in Borehamwood retweeted an appeal from a far-right group.
UKIP candidate Frank Ward, who joined the party in 2013 after 45 years as a Labour member, said Britain “should support both Israel and Hamas” at Sunday’s hustings to a largely Jewish audience.
Ward told Jewish News he “utterly rejects any suggestion that he supports Hamas”, but Board of Deputies’ vice-president Jonathan Arkush described the UKIP hopeful as “something of a loose cannon”.
Arkush added: “If there had been time we would have asked him to clarify what he meant… I think he was trying to say that Britain should be even-handed in the Middle East, but even that is problematic as it makes a moral equivalence between Israel and an organisation regarded as terrorist by Europe and the US.”
UKIP failed to distance itself from Ward’s remarks in Hertsmere, which is considered a safe Tory seat, with the third highest Jewish population of any seat in the country.
Meanwhile David Burcombe, Conservative Candidate for the Cowley Hill Ward in Borehamwood, posted material from far-right group Britain First on his Facebook page. The online faux pas comes less than a year after Conservative councillor Clive Butchins was forced to apologise for doing the same thing.