Ukip has disowned the latest in a string of fake Twitter accounts purporting to represent its members, after one of its MEPs appeared to tweet that Islam “must be eradicated from the west”.
Early on Tuesday morning, a Twitter account under the name of MEP for the East of England Stuart Agnew replied to an anti-Islamic tweet from user David Jones, stating: “[Islam] It must be eradicated from the west – there is no place for it here.”
The offensive statement was soon noticed by Labour party activist Marcus Bernasconi, who tweeted a screengrab of the exchange – which in turn was retweeted over 30 times, including by Labour Mp Jamie Reid.
Meanwhile, other Twitter users quoted Agnew’s apparent message in their own tweets – spreading accusations that Agnew is Islamophobic.
But Ukip has since called out the account as a fake, and said that Agnew has never had a Twitter account. It claims the stunt was the “latest in a long line of fraudulent UKIP accounts.”
Stuart Agnew MEP has never had a Twitter account. This is obviously the latest in a long line of fraudulent UKIP accounts.— UKIP (@UKIP) December 23, 2014
Bernasconi has since deleted his original message.
Ukip gaffes and controversies
Ukip gaffes and controversies
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2/18 Farage 'car-crash' interview
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3/18 Neil Hamilton
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4/18 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”
5/18 Natasha Bolter
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6/18 Ukip Calypso song
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7/18 Janice Atkinson
Janice Atkinson, Ukip's South East chair, pictured by protesters while campaigning in Ashford, Kent with local party chair Norman Taylor
8/18 Ukip cancels Freephone
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9/18 Farage 'car-crash' interview
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10/18 Ukip employs illegal immigrants
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11/18 Magnus Nielsen
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12/18 Poster model
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13/18 'Arrest protesters'
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14/18 London Live make-up
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15/18 Andre Lampitt
Ukip forced to suspend the "poster boy" of its European election broadcast, after it was revealed he had posted a series of vile racist comments on Twitter
Nigel Farage says he is taking taking legal advice over “outrageous” allegations that he is responsible for more than £50,000 of “missing” EU funding that was paid directly into his personal bank account
17/18 Have I Got News For You
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18/18 Anti-gay comments
Local branch chairman for Ukip defends a party's councillor candidate Douglas Denny who called gay people “abnormal” and said he wished “they stop trying to ram it down my throat”, all while discussing whether the word “sodomite” should be used
While some spoof Ukip accounts, such as UpikNews, UkipWeather and Trumpton_Ukip, are clearly satirical others are less obvious.
The incident comes after Ukip disowned a further three accounts earlier this month, which it accused other political parties of creating as part of a “dirty tricks campaign” to discredit the organisation.
The fake UkipCheltenham, UkipEastLondon and UKIPNorthLondon accounts in question tweeted homophobic messages, and appeared to play on previous racist and homophobic gaffes by real party members.
Earlier in the year, the Ukip council candidate William Henwood was forced to leave the party after he suggested actor Lenny Henry should emigrate to a “black country” in a tweet.
And Ukip EU elections poster boy Andre Lampitt was suspended in April when it was revealed he had posted a series of racist tweets on his account. Yesterday, it was revealed a Ukip parliamentary candidate claimed a gay donkey tried to rape his horse in a bizarre homophobic anecdote caught on film.
Last week, Ukip’s chairman used the party's magazine to advise its members to avoid joining Twitter and Facebook, in an apparent attempt to stop the flow of controversies which have plagued the party recently.
In addition to this, a copy of the new constitution seen by The Observer prevents supporters, members and officials using its logo without permission.Reuse content