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

Catherine Blaiklock, Brexit Party founder. Photo: Andrew McMeekin Photography

Catherine Blaiklock, Brexit Party founder. Photo: Andrew McMeekin Photography

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.'"

MORE: Norfolk-based leader of Nigel Farage-backed Brexit Party resigns over anti-Islam tweets

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.

You may also want to watch:

MORE: Brexit Party founder, friend of Nigel Farage, and Norfolk resident - who is Catherine Blaiklock?

"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."

If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Eastern Daily Press. Click the link in the yellow box below for details.

Become a supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years, through good times and bad. Coronavirus is one of the greatest challenges our community has ever faced, but if we all play our part we will defeat it. We're here to serve as your advocate and trusted source of local information.

In these testing times, your support is more important than ever. Thank you.

Most Read

Most Read

Latest from the Eastern Daily Press