The Brexit Party has raised eyebrows by standing a candidate in the upcoming general election who claims his British citizenship is ‘pending’ and only moved to the UK last year.
Australian-American businessman Gordon Hoff will contest the seat of Worthing West in West Sussex, to which he is “in the process of relocating”, and did not live in the UK during the 2016 referendum.
Hoff’s candidacy has been branded “strange” by his Liberal Democrat counterpart, saying the Brexit Party is “clearly against immigration”.
Hoff, who is a 56-year-old father of three, has apparently fulfilled a “lifelong dream” of living and working in the southeast of England, according to his campaign website.
Speaking on Twitter, Hoff said he was not a hypocrite for standing and was “fighting for democracy and respect for elections”.
He told the Worthing Herald that his campaign stance on immigration included a “fair and sensible immigration scheme to attract the best talent”.
Hoff was born in the US and spent years working in San Francisco before moving to Sydney, Australia.
According to his LinkedIn profile he moved to the UK between March and April 2018 – nearly two years after the EU referendum.
Under UK law, a citizen of a Commonwealth country who does not require leave to enter or remain in the UK, or has indefinite leave to remain, may stand in a general election.
He said on Twitter: “I am voting and standing under UK electoral law, Australian living in the UK.”
Hoff’s campaign page says: “Gordon has realised a lifelong dream of living and working in south-east England and enjoys living in vibrant seaside cities.
“He is pleased to be selected to stand in Worthing as a good fit, and is in process of relocating. You may see him riding his red Vespa around Worthing.”
But the Lib Dem candidate for the seat, Jamie Bennett, has questioned the selection.
He told the PA news agency: “As a democracy anyone can stand that fits the criteria.
“He stands for the Brexit Party who are quite clearly against immigration.
“One of their candidates is a non-British citizen so I think voters might be a bit confused about that.
“It is good to have a mixture of people standing [but] I think it’s a bit strange that the Brexit Party selected that candidate.”
He also questioned what Hoff and any other Brexit Party MPs would do once Brexit has been resolved.
“What will they do the rest of the four and a half years?”
Nearly 53% of referendum voters in Worthing opted to leave the EU.