A Reform UK candidate who is standing in the same constituency as women and equalities minister Kemi Badenoch has resigned from the party after it emerged he previously called on people to vote for the BNP.

The Times reports Grant StClair-Armstrong, the party’s candidate in North West Essex, posted on a blog called the Joli Triste in 2010: “I could weep now, every time I pick up a British newspaper and read the latest about the state of the UK.

“No doubt, Enoch Powell would be doing the same if he was alive. My solution … vote BNP!”

When approached by the paper regarding the blog post, Mr StClair-Armstrong said: “I’ve got no excuses for that. I think they’re a disgusting party. I don’t like the English Defence League. I don’t like them.”

He added he did not “really see any alternative” than handing in his resignation.

According to The Times, other blog posts included attempted humour using racial slurs and a joke about “female hormones”.

In separate comments to the BBC, Mr StClair-Armstrong said he had “never supported the BNP” and had been forced to stand down by Reform UK.

He told the broadcaster: “I would have let the people decide.

“I bitterly regret all of those comments made many years ago and I am just sorry that some people deemed it necessary to hunt for them when I am not the person I was then.”

A Reform UK spokesman told The Times: “Mr StClair-Armstrong has tendered his resignation as a member of Reform UK due to the revelation of unacceptable historic social media comments and we have accepted his resignation.”

As the deadline for nominations has passed, Mr StClair-Armstrong will appear on the ballot as the Reform UK candidate, but will stand as an independent if he is elected.