General Election 2019: Brexit Party's choice of candidate without UK citizenship branded 'strange'

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Eyebrows have been raised over the Brexit Party's selection of an international businessman who does not have UK citizenship to stand at the upcoming General Election.

Australian-American businessman Gordon Hoff will contest the seat of Worthing West in West Sussex, in a move that has been branded a "strange" choice for Nigel Farage's party.

Nigel Farage with Brexit Party candidate

Nigel Farage with Brexit Party candidate

Mr Hoff, who says his citizenship is "pending", was working in Australia during the EU referendum in 2016 and only moved to the UK last year.

The 56-year-old father of three has apparently fulfilled a "lifelong dream" of living and working in the South East of England, according to his campaign website.

The banking industry executive will be running against veteran Conservative Sir Peter Bottomley, who has held the seat since 1997.

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Speaking on Twitter, Mr Hoff said he was not a hypocrite for standing and was "fighting for democracy and respect for elections".

Mr 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.

Mr 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."

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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 Mr 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?"

Of the 61,416 people in Worthing borough who voted in the 2016 EU referendum, 32,515 (52.9%) voted Leave.