Ukip has lost nearly one in ten of its councillors who won their seats during last year’s local elections, according to new research.
The party is currently down by 12 county representatives out of the 139 who were elected a year on from the May 2013 poll, The Guardian has found.
Newly elected councillors have also been hit by a series of controversies in recent months, which include Peter Lagoda in Cambridgeshire, who has pleaded guilty to benefit fraud totalling almost £25,000.
Victoria Ayling, a parliamentary candidate, was caught on camera saying “I just want to send the lot back but I can’t say that”, a comment she claimed was made in regards to illegal immigrants.
Eric Kitson resigned after 12 days as an Ukip county councillor after sharing offensive material about Muslims on his Facebook page. Worcestershire councillor Martin Jenkins also resigned in protest against Ukip’s stance on gay marriage.
While the party has gained councillors through defections, with 19 coming from Labour and the Conservatives in London, its county council losses throughout the past year are “many” times higher than the other parties, according to the research.
Ukip gaffes and controversies
Ukip gaffes and controversies
1/12 Neil Hamilton
Picture Exclusive: The year is 1998. The venue is a Springbok Club meeting. The flag is a symbol for white supremacists in South Africa. And the speaker is Ukip’s deputy chairman, Neil Hamilton
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
Former Ukip member Natasha Bolter was suspected of not having the teaching qualifications she professed to, only days after it was revealed that claims of her having attended Oxford University were also false
4/12 Ukip Calypso song
Mike Reid released a single in praise of UKIP trying to control the UK's borders, only to withdraw the single after being accused of racism for singing in a Jamaican accent
5/12 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Ukip spin doctor forced to intervene as Farage falters in disastrous radio interview
6/12 Janice Atkinson
Janice Atkinson, Ukip's South East chair, pictured by protesters while campaigning in Ashford, Kent with local party chair Norman Taylor
7/12 Ukip cancels Freephone
Ukip cancels Freephone number after protesters repeatedly called to push up costs
8/12 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Mr Farage appeared to be caught out on a number of issues, from Romanian neighbours to people speaking foreign languages on the train
9/12 Ukip employs illegal immigrants
Ukip criticised after European election candidate found employing illegal immigrants
10/12 Magnus Nielsen
Ukip candidate: 'Take away the right to vote to improve election turnout'
11/12 London Live make-up
Ukip's Nigel Farage reportedly refused to go on London Live 'without professional make up-artist'
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
Sanya-Jeet Thandi, a young rising star within Ukip, quit the party this week in disgust at Ukip’s campaigning on immigration issues, writing that “while the party deliberately attracts the racist vote I refuse to be associated with them.”
However, the Ukip was also found to be extremely active in their communities, with statistics showing they have the highest attendance record over any other party at more than 92 per cent of compulsory meetings.
Party leader Nigel Farage has also claimed his councillors come under an unfair amount of scrutiny because other parties are going through social media to uncover controversial statements.
But Dr Matthew Goodwin, a politics expert at Nottingham University, told The Guardian controversies will not undermine support for Ukip, and may even add to the party’s appeal.
"While it is tempting to think the performance of radical right councillors or members of the European parliament might impact on their support, it clearly does not," he said.
"With the radical right, and figures like [party leader Nigel] Farage, it is as if voters are willing to give them a free pass – to use them as a vehicle through which they can express their intensely held concerns over Europe, immigration and the state of our politics while overlooking their own failings or those of individual councillors and candidates."
Ukip have not yet responded to requests for comment on the research.