Ukip leader Nigel Farage has admitted that the party’s rise could be halted in its tracks if people associate it with a "racist age".
Farage told a meeting of senior party figures that Ukip would be "buried" if it was marred by the actions of certain members, the Telegraph reported.
The newspaper said it had been handed a copy of the minutes from the meeting of Ukip's national executive committee, which was held to discuss Chris Pain. The former Ukip leader of Lincolnshire county council was suspended form the party after allegedly posting racist rants on his Facebook page.
Pain has always denied writing the comments, saying he was hacked, and an investigation into the incident by Lincolnshire Police was subsequently dropped.
However, in the June 2013 meeting, Farage conceded that damage had nevertheless been done. He said: "The one thing that is able to bury the Party if [sic] they can link us with a racist age."
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.
As 2015 begins it seems likely that while Ukip will be hoping to build upon the gains of the past year, the party will also be seeking to avoid the numerous gaffes made by members in 2014.
Just last month Kerry Smith, prospective Ukip MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, resigned after the Mail on Sunday published details of recordings of phone calls in which he was said to have mocked gay party members as "disgusting p*****rs", referred to a woman with a Chinese name as a "C****y bird" and joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a "peasant hunt".
Farage defended the offensive "ch***y" comment. Speaking on LBC radio, he asked: "If you and your mates are going out for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?"
However, earlier this week it was reported that Ukip had hired Oxford-educated City barrister Matthew Richardson to keep "bad stuff" out of the public domain. Leaked minutes from the same meeting, which were seen by the Daily Mirror, showed that officials discussed the need for a lawyer to be “actively involved” in its dealings with the media.
And Ukip MP Douglas Carswell has called on the party to stop making "the mistake of blaming outsiders" for Britain’s problems and described disliking foreigners as "not merely offensive, but absurd".
The former Tory MP made the comments after it was revealed that Ukip has failed to win the hearts of young voters.Reuse content