English Defence League backs Ukip in local elections

Currently third in UK polls, Nigel Farage's party rejects new supporters as 'abhorrent and stupid'

The UK Independence Party (Ukip) faced embarrassment last night after it received the unwanted endorsement of the far-Right English Defence League for next month’s local council elections.

Ukip, which is fielding up to 2,000 candidates in the contests and is currently third in most national opinion polls, rapidly distanced itself from the “abhorrent and stupid” anti-Islamic organisation.

In an ungrammatical posting on its Facebook page, the EDL leadership said: “All nationalist parties should stand aside in areas that Ukip have a good chance of winning.

“Let’s not split their vote. We might take a couple or a few hundred votes of them, we don’t come no where and we’ve cost UKIP the win because they come 50, 60 votes behind Labour.”

Its comments appear to be aimed at supporters tempted to vote for the British National Party or the National Front in the elections on May 2.

The EDL largely concentrates on street protests, but it was previously linked with another organisation on the extreme Right, the British Freedom Party, which is currently defunct.

The Facebook page also contains a link to a clip of a speech about Islam by Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, and to information about the party’s local election campaign.

Under Mr Farage’s leadership, Ukip has striven hard to lose its reputation for extremism following accusations that it is the “BNP in suits”. David Cameron once described it as a “bunch of fruitcakes and loonies and closet racists, mostly”.

Its constitution forbids membership to supporters who have ever belonged to the BNP, the National Front, the EDL or other nationalist organisations.

A Ukip spokesman said: “We find the EDL not just abhorrent, but stupid because it looks at people as groups rather than individuals. We don’t share their aims or ambitions. I think (EDL leader) Tommy Robinson has a rather inflated view of his importance.”

Ukip has gained three council seats since it overhauled the Conservatives to come second in the Eastleigh parliamentary by-election in February.

Its latest victory came two days ago in a contest for a seat on North East Lincolnshire council. It also gained seats in Havering, east London, and Runnymede, Surrey, last month.

Ukip is mounting its biggest ever council election push next month. For instance, it is fielding 54 candidates in contests for Somerset County Councils compared with four the last time the seats were contested and is putting up a full slate in Devon.

Last night a senior Labour source said: “Ukip should be ashamed that their rhetoric and policies have such appeal to those on the far-Right who want to stir up hatred.”

Natalie Bennett, the Green Party leader, said: “I think many voters who might have been thinking of voting Ukip as an expression of frustration with the sheer incompetence of this government, or out of a desire for a new economic direction, will now be thinking again as this news gets out.”

She added that Ukip were “not a serious political option”.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant- NY- Investment Bank

Not specified: Selby Jennings: VP/SVP Credit Quant Top tier investment bank i...

Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executive- City of London, Old Street

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Senior Marketing Executiv...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager

£40000 - £43000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An international organisa...

Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwickshire

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Internal Recruiter -Rugby, Warwicksh...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015