Excluding 'clowns': Ukip toughens checks on candidates ready for next year's European elections
Ukip candidates will for the first time face tough checks by party chiefs in an attempt to avoid a repeat of the embarrassing publicity that dogged it throughout the local election campaign.
Nigel Farage publicly laughed off a series of disclosures about the views of several candidates, admitting that Ukip did not have the resources to vet everyone who stood for office under its banner.
But the Ukip leader has ordered a shake-up of the party machine to enable it to scrutinise the quality of candidates in next year's European elections and the general election in 2015.
Their career records and backgrounds will be double-checked and potential candidates will be subjected to video-taped interviews to assess how they cope under pressure.
The party is also considering making it a requirement of their candidacy that they are willing to submit their credit records.
With more than 130 council seats gains for Ukip and a 23-per-cent share of the vote, the onslaught of adverse publicity over its candidates appeared not to have blunted its appeal to the electorate.
But senior party figures privately acknowledge the joke could have worn thin by next year, when Ukip is aiming to finish first in elections to the European Parliament. It also plans to field a full slate of candidates in the general election.
In addition, the party plans an overhaul of policy in a move to counter charges that its spending commitments and promises of tax cuts do not add up. Ukip's support for a flat rate of tax looks set to be abandoned.
During the campaign, Ukip was forced to suspend a candidate in Somerset after he was pictured on Facebook apparently making a Nazi salute.
It also disowned a candidate in West Sussex over a Facebook entry implying that the Holocaust was part of a Zionist plot to bring about the creation of Israel as well as a candidate in Cornwall who was a former member of the British National Party.
Each of those failed to be elected, but Ukip's successful candidates included several with colourful and controversial backgrounds.
Among them is Laurence Keeley, who was elected yesterday to East Sussex county council. He was jailed in 2003 for burning pigs' heads and cows' lungs in local woods.
Alan Preest, who was elected to Gloucestershire county council, is a former Tory councillor, but left the party in 2008 after he admitted stealing from his local Tesco branch.
Andy Moore, who was a place on Hampshire county council was a former Liberal Democrat who was disciplined by the party for sexism after he had made a remark about Carina Trimingham's legs, who is now the partner of the ex-Cabinet minister Chris Huhne.
Others have campaigned heavily - and successfully - on immigration.
Bob McAuley, elected to Lincolnshire county council, rose to prominence through the Boston Protest Group, which was planning an anti-immigration march last year until it was called off because police feared it would lead to violence.
He objects that too many shops in Boston are run by European immigrants. He said: "If someone goes to a town for diverse shopping they expect a craft shop or clothing, not a can of Polish beer and a Latvian loaf."
Alan Lay, who was elected in Cambridgeshire, provoked anger when he accused the Tories and Liberal Democrats of being to blame for allowing "free loading immigrants" into the country.
Part of the problem for Ukip is its rapid success has outstripped its ability to check the quality of its candidates as large numbers were added to ballot papers.
Ian Smith, who was elected in Dorset, only agreed to stand three weeks ago. His name did not appear on Ukip leaflets and he admitted not even owning a party rosette.
He did not attend his count and only found out he become a councillor by email yesterday. He said: "My initial reaction was 'my goodness!' I was shocked but I'm very happy."
Now it has a foothold in local government, the party will find its councillors subjected to close scrutiny by the other parties. One Tory source said: "Ukip will be held to account over its policies and its candidates."
Actress sees off speculation about her appearance in an amazing way
Powerful images of strays taken moments before being put down
The Washington Post editor helped Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bring down President Nixon
Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search
- 1 Salisbury ranked seventh-best city in the world to visit in Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015
- 2 Disney announces new female-led film Moana
- 3 Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
- 5 Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
Chicago voter tells Obama 'don't touch my girlfriend' – Obama stays super smooth
Oscar Pistorius: The brutal prison life that awaits disgraced athlete
Banksy has not been arrested: Internet duped by fake report claiming artist's identity revealed
Raphael Ravenscroft dead: 'Baker Street' musician who played the most famous saxophone solo for just £27, dies aged 60
Darren Vann: Indiana man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear more
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Jose Manuel Barroso warns David Cameron against making 'historic mistake' over immigration reforms
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
£22000 - £32000 per annum + TLR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our client is...
£300 - £350 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: The role could involve w...
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Qualified secondary s...
£22000 - £36000 per annum + MPR / UPR: Randstad Education Southampton: Our cli...