Reform UK candidate denies AI bot accusations

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Reform UK candidate Mark Matlock found himself embroiled in an unusual controversy when social media users accused him of being an AI bot after he missed election night due to pneumonia.

Matlock, who ran for the Brixton and Clapham Hill constituency, was unable to attend hustings or the election count, leading to speculation about his identity. The candidate, who won 1,758 votes, discovered accusations online that his glossy profile picture was computer-generated.

In an interview with The Independent, Matlock sought to dispel the rumours, reassuring the public of his authenticity. “I am a real person and that is me in the photo,” he affirmed, attributing his absence to severe illness. “I got pneumonia three days before election night. I couldn’t even stand.”

The incident was compounded by his campaign platform, which included managing the transfer of human jobs to AI. Additionally, the edited background of his photo, taken outside the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford, further fueled speculation.

Despite initial amusement at the online conspiracies, Matlock is determined to set the record straight. “I think it perked me up. This is doing more good for me than my campaign,” he remarked.

Political rivals had raised concerns about Matlock’s authenticity. Green Party candidate Shao-Lan Yuen and independent Jon Key both expressed doubts about his presence and campaign activities. Yuen noted, “I haven’t seen or heard from the Reform UK candidate for Clapham and Brixton Hill constituency.”

Matlock countered these claims, explaining his efforts to participate in hustings and his focus on campaigning for party leader Nigel Farage in Clacton. “I called Lambeth council loads of times to get on hustings but none of them invited me,” he said. “I was campaigning in Clacton for Nigel to make sure he got his seat.”

Despite the challenges, Matlock remains optimistic about the party’s performance. “We got 4 million votes but only five seats. Some of us are smarting but overall we are psyched. We are a new party, the election was shoved on us in such a short space of time – it is unbelievable.”

Matlock plans to release a video to further dispel the rumours and prove his identity once he has recovered from his illness. “When I feel up to it, I will put out a video and prove these rumours that I’m a robot are absolute baloney,” he said.

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