Alleged Death Threats Target Populist Reform UK Candidate in Diverse Rochdale

Reform UK, the party founded by Nigel Farage, has released a video that it claims shows death threats against its candidate in the Rochdale by-election. This comes as British politics remains embroiled in discussions about the perceived threat of Islamic extremism.

On Monday evening, Reform UK shared footage suggesting that Simon Danczuk, a former Labour MP and current Reform UK candidate, has been the target of death threats. Danczuk is vying for the seat in the upcoming by-election on Thursday, which will determine the next member of parliament for the diverse northern English town of Rochdale.

In a video, a person holding a Reform UK election leaflet is heard referring to Danczuk as a “bald, white, devil, bastard”. In response to the leaflet, which encouraged voters to “vote for Rochdale, not Gaza,” the individual proceeds to call the candidate a “son of a bitch”. They then make an apparent death threat, stating that they are “gonna put one on his head” in reference to Danczuk.

Another post appeared to show a message received by the Reform UK Facebook page in which someone said to Danczuk: “I am going to assault you when I see you and I care not of the consequences.”

Honorary president of the party, Nigel Farage said that he was “horrified” by the video, saying: “Never in my life have I seen anything like this, this is the greatest threat to our democracy ever.”

In a letter to Greater Manchester Police Chief Constable Stephen Watson, Richard Tice, the leader of the Reform UK party, described the threats as “utterly unacceptable and outrageous”.

Tice urged the police to “treat the threat with the seriousness it deserves and ensure adequate security measures are in place to enable the campaign to proceed in an orderly fashion,” including providing protection to Danczuk and his team.

The alleged death threats in the Rochdale race coincide with heightened attention on Middle Eastern politics in British politics. The Conservatives have suspended former deputy chairman Lee Anderson due to purportedly “Islamophobic” remarks, while the Labour Party has suspended several parliamentary candidates, including Azhar Ali, the Rochdale race candidate, after he accused Israel of deliberately allowing the Hamas terror attacks on October 7th.

Following the October 7th attacks, even before Israel’s military response in Gaza, thousands of pro-Palestinian protesters, some of whom made genocidal remarks against the Jewish state, took to the streets of Britain.

The lenient approach to these protests, in contrast to the handling of lockdown protests or other right-wing demonstrations, has led to suggestions from Home Secretary Suella Braverman and others that Islamists have exerted significant influence in the country through intimidation.

This assertion gained momentum last week when House Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle departed from parliamentary protocol to permit Labour Party amendments to a Scottish National Party motion calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. Hoyle explained his decision by expressing concerns over potential terrorist attacks on MPs.

Inside the parliament, chaotic scenes unfolded as hundreds of anti-Israel protesters gathered outside, with some projecting the genocidal Palestinian “from the river to the sea” slogan onto Big Ben while police looked on. These tumultuous events were followed by the suspension of Conservative MP Lee Anderson from the party after he alleged that London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer were being influenced by “Islamists”.

Smelling an opportunity, the Labour Party and its allies swiftly sought to divert attention from the issue of antisemitism within the Labour Party and at protests in Britain to accuse the Conservatives of being plagued by “Islamophobia”.

Anneliese Dodds, the Shadow Equalities Minister for the Labour Party, spearheaded the accusations of Islamophobia and urged the government to enshrine a formal definition of Islamophobia into law. In response, Kemi Badenoch, her counterpart in the government, cautioned that such a move would effectively create a “blasphemy law through the back door” if enacted.

“In this country, we have a proud tradition of religious freedom AND the freedom to criticise religion,” Badenoch said on social media.

In the meantime, Anna Firth, the Conservative MP for Southend West who succeeded Sir David Amess—tragically killed by a radical Islamist in broad daylight—urged her party not to yield to allegations of Islamophobia but instead to openly confront the menace of radical Islam in Britain.

“We seem afraid. Afraid to be seen as racist or Islamophobic, even when we simply seek to save lives by speaking the truth,” she wrote in The Telegraph.

“I was always taught to stand up to bullies, not to give in, and never, ever to let myself be intimidated. It’s hard, though, when the threat is real and nobody wants to admit where it’s coming from. If you can’t name it, you can’t protect yourself from it.”