Brexit Party candidate quits over colleague Claire Fox’s 'ambiguous position' on IRA bombing
A Brexit Party candidate for the European elections has quit over a colleague's refusal to apologise for past comments on a notorious IRA bombing.
Sally Bate, who was standing in the North West region, said she “cannot continue to stand beside” Claire Fox, who has failed to condemn the Warrington attack which killed 12-year-old Tim Parry and three-year-old Johnathan Ball in 1993.
Ms Fox is a former member of the Revolutionary Communist Party, which defended "the right of the Irish people to take whatever measures necessary in their struggle for freedom," in a party newsletter published shortly after the killings.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Ms Fox, who is the Brexit Party's top candidate in the North West, said she had the “greatest sympathy” for the Parry family.
She added: “The loss of their son was tragic and must have been terribly painful, as for all victims of violence during the Troubles.
"My personal politics and views are well known and I have never sought to disguise them, though on this issue they have remained unaired for many years.
"Whatever the rights and wrongs, the history of Ireland has been marked by tragedy and I acknowledge that without hesitation and with genuine feeling for all involved.
"My political views have never made me insensitive to the pain and suffering caused to the innocent victims of events such as the Warrington bomb.”
Tim Parry's father, Colin, said it was obvious that Ms Fox had not changed her views.
Announcing her decision to quit the Brexit Party, Ms Bate said: "I am unhappy with Claire's statement since she has not categorically condemned the violence inflicted by the IRA.
"I stand by Colin Parry and his family and all victims of the Warrington bomb and in view of Claire's ambiguous position on the issue I cannot continue to stand beside her as a Brexit candidate and resign with immediate effect."
Change UK interim leader Heidi Allen, whose candidates will go head to head with the Brexit Party at the European elections on 23 May, said: “Well done to Sally Bate for a principled decision.
“Claire Fox’s refusal to condemn the Warrington IRA bombing is totally unacceptable.
“Nigel Farage must remove her from the Brexit Party list. It is without question, that we all stand together with the victims of that atrocity.”
The Brexit Party has been contacted for comment.