Ukip’s Kerry Smith has resigned as the party’s candidate in a top target seat after it emerged he had made homophobic and racist remarks and joked about shooting poor people.
In recordings of phone calls obtained by the Mail on Sunday, the would-be MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock was said to have mocked gay party members as “disgusting poofters”, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant hunt” and referred to someone with a Chinese name as a “Chinky bird”.
Mr Smith was deselected as the Ukip candidate for the seat, considered to be winnable by the party, in October and replaced by Natasha Bolter, but then she quit claiming she had been sexually harassed by Ukip’s general secretary, Roger Bird, who has denied the claims.
Ukip's confusing policies
Ukip's confusing policies
1/6 Deport migrants
Ukip MP Mark Reckless suggested he would deport existing EU migrants, a policy Nigel Farage rejected out of hand.
2/6 US-style NHS
Farage was caught on film in 2012 saying healthcare headed towards insurance-based system, though he has since said he would keep it free at the point of use.
3/6 Handbag tax
Ukip Economy spokesman Patrick O'Flynn said he would introduce a tax on high-price items like shoes, Nigel Farage disowned this idea.
4/6 Same-sex couple adoption
Ukip candidate Winston McKenzie likened adoption by same-sex couples to "child abuse", but the party rejects that view.
5/6 Gay marriage?
In early 2014 Ukip released a statement saying it would review its gay marriage policy, but later said that was an error.
6/6 Sex education u-turn
Nigel Farage told Leaders Live that he backed sex education for under-11s but later admitted that is not Ukip policy.
Former Tory minister Neil Hamilton was then seen as the likely candidate but he withdrew on the night of the hustings after a letter from Ukip’s finance committee asking him to explain his expenses claims was leaked to Channel 4 News.
Mr Hamilton claimed he had been the victim of a “dirty tricks” campaign, but backed Mr Smith who was selected last week.
However, amid reports that internecine warfare had broken out between supporters of Mr Hamilton and Ukip leader Nigel Farage, the Mail on Sunday newspaper obtained a recording of Mr Smith making a string of offensive remarks.
He initially apologised and explained that he had been under great stress at the time of the comments and taking strong pain killers.
But in a statement on Sunday night, Mr Smith said: “I have this evening offered my resignation as Ukip PPC for South Basildon and East Thurrock.
“I want the best for South Basildon and East Thurrock and I want to see the real issues discussed that touch the lives of people.
“Therefore I have chosen to resign so that Ukip can win this seat next May.”
In the recording, Mr Smith described the fact that Ukip’s LGBTQ group was allowed to use the party’s logo with a rainbow flag as “f***ing disgusting”.