Ukip has disowned three Twitter accounts purporting to represent the party in the last week leading to fears the eurosceptics could be facing a coordinated campaign to discredit them with fake messages.
A Ukip spokesperson told The Independent that other political parties may have created the accounts to bring the party into disrepute and raised fears of an organised campaign because the tweets had all “followed the same pattern”.
The latest in a series of accounts is @UKIPCheltenham, which tweeted an offensive message suggesting that World AIDS Day was a “reminder that we must tighten our borders”.
The account was only set up last Friday 28 November, suggesting it may have been created for that purpose.
"UKIP is obviously being targeted by cowardly, online trolls as part of a dirty tricks campaign. People are setting up fake UKIP accounts on Twitter, and posting nasty and abhorrent comments. They absolutely do not reflect UKIP’s views,” he said.
"UKIP Cheltenham is the latest in a series of accounts that follow the same pattern. UKIP has reported the malicious behaviour to Twitter, and we would ask that all other political parties clarify as to whether they are associated with these smear tactics in any way, be it from their activists, or party staff”.
Yesterday Ukip denied affiliation with the @UKIPNorthLondon account when it tweeted a homophobic message at food writer Jack Monroe, as well as a series of messages about “white genocide”.
@MsJackMonroe The reason we don't support your kind is because Homosexuality goes against nature. Not welcome in Britain.— UKIP North London (@UKIPNorthLondon) November 30, 2014
The @UKIPEastLondon account had earlier tweeted saying homosexuality was “unnatural and Anti-British”.
The account later changed its bio to “We are no longer affiliated with UKIP, UKIP have failed us and we need stronger policy”.
In pictures: The rise of Ukip
In pictures: The rise of Ukip
1/8 1993: Alan Sked forms Ukip
History professor Alan Sked had been active in anti-EU politics for a while beore he founded Ukip in 1993. He resigned from the party after the 1997 election, concerned that it was attracting far-right members, and has been critical of Ukip since. Picture: Reuters
2/8 2005: Kilroy defects
Former TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk founded Veritas in 2005, after a failed bid to become leader, and took many of Ukip's elected members with him. But the party slowly lost its popularity and didn't put forward any candidates in the last election. Picture: REUTERS/Kieran Doherty REUTERS KD/RUS
3/8 2010: Farage becomes leader, again
Farage had led Ukip from 2006 until 2009, when he stood down to fight against the Speaker, John Bercow, for his Buckingham seat. He failed to win the election and returned to lead the party in November 2010. Picture: REUTERS/Kieran Doherty
4/8 2010: Ukip fights for election
Nigel Farage was injured in a plane crash on polling day in the 2010 general election, but his party increased its success in the votes. It fielded 572 candidates and took 3.1% of the vote, though failed to win any seats. REUTERS/Darren Staples
5/8 2013: Eastleigh gains
Ukip's candidate Diane James got the highest ever number of votes for any candidate from the party, but was beaten by the Liberal Democrats. The surge in support gave Ukip confidence ahead of local and European elections later in the year. Picture: Reuters
6/8 2013: Bloom kicked out
Godfrey Bloom, who served as an Ukip MEP from 2004 to 2014, had the whip withdrawn in 2013 after sexist comments and an attack on a journalist. He sat as an independent MEP until 2014, when he ended his term in office. Picture: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
7/8 2014: European election success
Ukip got a higher proportion of the vote than any other party in 2014's European elections, adding 11 new MEPs and taking its total to 24. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
8/8 2014: Carswell defects
Douglas Carswell defected from Ukip at the end of August, and was followed by Mark Reckless at the end of September, who resigned from the Tories amid rumours of many more defections to come. Picture: REUTERS/Toby Melville
The earliest tweet by the East London account was 26 November. The North London account dates back to 22 November, just over two weeks ago.
Regarding the veracity of the London accounts, a UKIP spokesperson told The Independent that they were “transparently, absolutely, one hundred per cent fake”.
“It is beyond frustrating, that any man and their dog, can set these things up, and then everyone goes, ‘Oh look… They’re racist! Ukip are racist!’
“They can short Anglo Saxon word off. Honestly, we’re fed up... Anyone can set these up and go, ‘Oh look, we’re racist!’ No we’re bloody well not.
“We’ve been in touch with Twitter to have these taken down – they are nothing to do with us. Quite often with these things, we’re relying on good nature – and in Ukip, there’s a lot of it. Unfortunately, it’s in short supply elsewhere.”Reuse content