A newly elected Ukip councillor has become the latest party member to face accusations of racism and homophobia, just days after Nigel Farage celebrated unprecedented gains in local elections in England.
Dave Small, who has just been selected as a councillor for the Redditch borough council in Worcestershire, already faces the prospect of being kicked out of the party after he reportedly described gay people as “perverts” and immigrants as “money-grabbing scum”.
In a series of comments on Facebook which came to light minutes after his successful election on Friday, Mr Small apparently claimed that “migration from Muslim countries” led to the spread of TB in Britain, the Redditch Standard reported.
That post was entitled “Muslims and the threat they pose to our way of life”, and in others people from Mali and Romania were called “scroungers” and Birmingham was described as full of “jabbering in an alien voice” and “men [who] wear their Pyjamas”.
In another post on Mr Small’s profile, under the headline “Britain used to be for the British”, he appeared to have written: “Our once great country has become the dust bin for all the world wide money grabbing scum.
“Why on earth is this useless Government[sic] pandering to Puffs?” he reportedly wrote. “I refuse to call them gays, as what has gay to do with Perverts like Elton John and Clair[sic] Balding who get their jollies in such disgusting ways. To sum up, they should not allowed to be married, they should go back to the closet.”
Ukip gaffes and controversies
Ukip gaffes and controversies
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2/12 Kerry Smith
Kerry Smith resigned as would-be MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock after it emerged he had 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”
3/12 Natasha Bolter
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6/12 Janice Atkinson
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Ukip claimed 30 of a possible 350 council seats in the West Midlands, and one of the party’s prospective MEPs for the region, Jim Carver, told the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme: “If we are going to challenge in the general election we need to have a strong footprint in local councils.”
When questioned on Dave Small’s alleged comments, Mr Carver said he was “personally very angry at how this situation arose” and that the party “distance ourselves from that completely”.
“I have no truck with any of those comments,” he said, before adding that he had spoken to the party chairman and was told there would be a “full, fair and thorough investigation”.
Mr Small’s Ukip colleague Stuart Cross, who represents Redditch South on Worcestershire County Council, said: “If he has said that, then it is utterly disgraceful and he needs to immediately resign. There is no place for people like that either with Ukip or as a councillor.”
The party issued a statement saying that the case would be looked into as part of “an established disciplinary procedure”. Similar incidents in the past have seen members kicked out of the party.
Stonewall's acting chief executive, Ruth Hunt, condemned the comments, telling the Guardian that Ukip would be “judged by the company they keep”.
She said: “These reprehensible views have no place in modern Britain. We hope the party leadership reviews these comments as a matter of urgency.”
It is not the first time Ukip has been at the centre of either a homophobia or a racism row – and at all levels of the party.
Its candidate for the parliamentary by-election in Newark and the man fighting to become Ukip's first ever MP, Roger Helmer, was criticised at the start of May for saying it was “morally acceptable to prefer heterosexuality over homosexuality, or vice versa”, and comparing homophobia to having “different tastes in tea”.
And Mr Farage himself was accused of being “a racist” following comments he made about feeling “uncomfortable” at the thought of having a Romanian family move in next-door to him.