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."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
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

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - Junior / Middleweight

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: One of the South East's fastest growing full s...

Guru Careers: Marketing Manager / Marketing Communications Manager

£35-40k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Marketing Communicati...

Recruitment Genius: Commercial Engineer

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Estimating, preparation of tech...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will work as part of a smal...

Day In a Page

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor