Norfolk Brexit Party founder accused of 'stoking racism' with tweet about fictional hospital
PUBLISHED: 15:12 02 August 2019 | UPDATED: 15:12 02 August 2019
Copyright 2014 Andrew McMeekin PHOTGRAPHY
The Norfolk-based founder of the Brexit Party has been accused of "stoking racism and anti-immigrant propaganda" with a tweet about a hospital which does not exist.
Catherine Blaiklock, who ran for UKIP in Great Yarmouth in the 2017 general election, stepped down from the party in March over anti-Islam tweets.
But on Tuesday Ms Blaiklock tweeted: "Someone told me this is happening. This is a text I received. 'Major operations are sold in Pakistan and performed by the NHS in London. Patients arrive at Heathrow and are collected and taken to Slough General. Everyone is on the take abusing the system.'"
The tweet, which Ms Blaiklock then retweeted, was met with backlash as it was revealed Slough General does not exist.
A Brexit Party spokesman told the Metro: "You will find we got rid of her because of this [sort of behaviour]."
Ms Blaiklock left the Brexit Party in March after the Guardian asked questions over previous anti-Islam tweets.
At the time she said: "The out-of-character comments that I made on social media some time ago were unacceptable in tone and content. After speaking to Nigel Farage, I realise that my comments fall well short of what is expected in any walk of life.
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"I have accordingly tendered my resignation as party leader."
The town has two hospitals - Wexham Park and Upton - and Labour MP for the area Tan Dhesi called for Ms Blaiklock to delete the tweet.
He said: "Delete the tweet, apologise, and stop misleading the British public by creating division within harmonious communities."
But Ms Blaiklock said: "I have received this message from people involved in transportation around Heathrow. I stated that it was information I received. As one put it, 'it is commonly known knowledge'.
"Slough was used in a colloquial way to mean Slough hospitals in general."
On Mr Dhesi's remarks she said: "How dare he? I have probably done more for health care in South Asia than he ever has. This is a classic case of attack the messenger rather than deal with the issue."
She added: "This affects every British person. Why should some poor pensioners have to wait an extra three months because some businessman who is not eligible for healthcare in this country got in there first?
"We are the only country in the entire western world that is letting this happen on this scale."