Ukip's MEPs: After months of gaffes and controversies, meet the people who will represent Britain in the European Parliament
A gruelling campaign has seen scandal reach all levels of Nigel Farage's new 'third party in UK politics'
It gained a 27.5% share of the vote, now has more MEPs than any other UK party and is set to cause chaos in next year's general election.
Ukip's extraordinary victory in the European elections is the first time a national election has not been won by either the Conservatives or Labour for 100 years. Leader Nigel Farage has now confirmed that the party will seek to secure parliamentary seats in Westminster next year.
However, with voters in the European elections picking a party not a person, many will be unaware of who their newly elected MEP is.
With his party dismissed by many, including David Cameron, as "a bunch of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists", Mr Farage has been forced in the past to distance himself from “the views of a handful of people” who cannot be held as being “representative of Ukip”.
Yet controversial incidents have also reached right to the top of the party, including a flurry of embarrassing gaffes that resulted in the high-profile resignation of former MEP Godfrey Bloom.
Below, we take a look at the party's new band of MEPs and their controversial views on Islam, homosexuality, women and, of course, Romanians.
Roger Helmer, East Midlands
The man who will try to become Ukip’s first ever MP when he contests the Newark by-election on 5 June.
But he is also the man who was at the centre of a homophobia row at the end of last month, when he suggested people should be able to prefer heterosexuality or homosexuality like they do different types of tea.
“Different people may have different tastes,” Mr Helmer said, adding that he felt it was “morally acceptable to prefer heterosexuality over homosexuality, or vice versa”.
Stuart Agnew, East of England
Said last year that women do not have the ambition to get to the top in business because babies “get in the way”.
Speaking at the European Parliament, he said: “The point is we have absolute gender balancing in the education system. In fact, if you look at the people who get degrees more, women get them and they are getting the jobs in the work place, but for various reasons, they don't have the ambition to go right to the top because something gets in the way. It's called a baby.”
Gerard Batten, London
A founding member of the party and part of its executive council, long-standing MEP Gerard Batten made headlines in February when he called for British Muslims to be required to sign a special “code of conduct”.
Mr Batten said he stood by the “charter of Muslim understanding” – which included the suggestion that some parts of the Qur’an should be rendered “inapplicable” – he had written in 2006.
The proposal, which Mr Batten said he couldn’t see “any reasonable, normal person” objecting to, was later dismissed by Nigel Farage for not “treating people equally”.
Janice Atkinson, South East England
Mr Farage’s number two, who recently called for the police to arrest any protesters who “hurl abuse” and call Ukip members fascists.
Yet just days later, Ms Atkinson was photographed swearing at Green Party activists and reportedly told them to “f*** off”.
Nigel Farage, South East England
The charismatic leader of the party – but faced his own accusations of being “a racist” this month after he made comments about the prospect of having a Romanian family move in next door.
In a car-crash interview on LBC Radio he said he would feel “uncomfortable” if a group of Romanians moved in next door, and when pressed on the difference between this and a group of Germans he said: “I think you know the difference.”
Speaking after Ukip’s victory was announced on Sunday, Mr Farage said it represented “an earthquake in British politics” and it had “profound consequences for the leaders of the other parties”.
Julia Reid, South West England
Was forced to distance herself this month from a message on Twitter saying that Islam “has no place in the UK [and] needs banning”, written by Ukip supporter David Jones.
Social media users noticed that the Islamophobic message appeared to have been shared by a Twitter account associated with Ms Reid – but when questioned she told the Huffington Post: “As far as I am aware I did not retweet the David Jones tweet… and even so a retweet is not an endorsement.”
Ms Reid later suspended her Twitter account, which remains inactive.
Nigel Farage flanked by fellow Ukip MEPs Janice Atkinson (R) and Diane James (L)
Diane James, South East England
Apologised in February last year when, as one of the candidates in the Eastleigh by-election, she linked Romanian immigrants with a natural propensity towards crime.
Then, she said: “On 1 January 2014 the floodgates will open for Bulgarian and Romanian citizens [to come to Britain].
“We are not just talking about pressure on services from immigration but also, and I have to say it, the crime associated with Romanians.”
Bill Etheridge, West Midlands
Campaigning against “political correctness” as prospective Conservative Party councillors in 2011, Bill and his wife Star Etheridge posted pictures of themselves to Facebook in which were holding up golliwog dolls.
The couple was summoned before a disciplinary committee and suspended after a colleague complained – at which point Mr Etheridge defected to Ukip on the grounds that his “right to express his views” was being stifled by the Tories.
Amjad Bashir, Yorkshire and the Humber
Contributed indirectly to Nigel Farage’s notorious “car-crash interview” on LBC when, just beforehand, it emerged that one of Mr Bashir’s businesses had been employing illegal immigrants.
A restaurant run by the MEP – who is also the party’s small businesses spokesperson – was raided by immigration officials on 1 June, 2013, at which point he stepped down as director.
Mr Farage told BBC's This Week: “His son is the director and runs that business and they had an argument and a row with the immigration people which they are appealing. I'm not going to prejudge that.”
Jane Collins, Yorkshire and the Humber
Replaced the infamous Godfrey Bloom after he was kicked out of the party for a series of gaffes and blunders, including calling a room full of women “sluts”.
Ms Collins previously worked as a campaign manager for Bloom and told the local Scunthorpe Telegraph that she always felt he had been “talking a lot of common sense”.
Defending Bloom’s string of disastrous public appearances, she said: “I am pleased he has not left the party, he is being incredibly supportive. As for the ‘slut’ remark, I was there and everyone in the room took it as a joke.”
Mike Hookem, Yorkshire and the Humber
Made headlines earlier this year after he was caught giving out business cards with the word “Independence” (as in UK Independence Party) misspelt as “Independance”.
When he realised what was an unfortunate printer’s error he stopped handing out the cards – but that wasn’t before one made its way to the satirical magazine Private Eye.
Tim Aker, East of England
Was caught up in the scandal last year over wreaths with political messages placed at Remembrance Day services. Mr Aker, the party’s policy chief, was pictured with a wreath that read “United Kingdom Independence Party” at a service in Grays, Thurrock.
Speaking about a similar incident a day earlier involving a Ukip wreath in Plymouth, the local council leader told the BBC: “It is very bad taste. We have always made Remembrance Day an apolitical event.”
Patrick O’Flynn, East of England
Nigel Farage’s lead spin doctor, and the man who interrupted the car-crash interview on LBC Radio this month when the subject for discussion moved onto the party leader’s expenses.
Before joining Ukip, Mr O’Flynn was the chief political commentator for the Daily Express. He wrote in 2008 that “Muslim urban ghettos have reintroduced electoral fraud as a regular feature of British political life”, under the headline: “The time has come for Muslims to fully adopt the British way of life”.
Paul Nuttall, North West England
The deputy leader of the party, who along with Mr Farage himself and four others voted against a measure in the European Parliament that would help prevent the illegal trade of ivory in Europe.
The “No” vote follows a trend by UKIP to go against any vote that could potentially expand European legislative power – but critics said that policy was taken too far in this case, and likened the stance to “refusing to uphold a ban on child labour”.
Users on social media commented: “Why the hell do Ukip hate elephants so much? Is it because they are foreign animals competing for British mammals’ jobs?”
William Dartmouth, South West England
Has faced public anger and accusations of hypocrisy after he claimed to have given a “relative” a plot of land that is subject to a planning application for wind turbines.
Ukip’s manifesto for the 2014 elections said it was “fighting against wind farms”, and William Legge, better known as the Earl of Dartmouth, said he was “fully committed” to the cause.
Yet according to The Telegraph, the name “William Dartmouth” is listed on the planning application for the wind farm in the owners and tenants section.
Lord Dartmouth told the newspaper: “I made no financial benefit from the transfer of the land and I will not have any financial benefit from the land if the application ever does become successful.”
Jim Carver, West Midlands
Mr Carver said he had been left “personally very angry” after a newly-elected Ukip councillor in the West Midlands became the latest party member to face accusations of racism and homophobia.
Just days after Dave Small was elected to Redditch council it emerged that a string of offensive posts had appeared on his personal Facebook profile. Mr Carver – whose region has faced particular scrutiny in the wake of the Eric Kitson scandal - said he had spoken to the party chairman to discuss “how this situation arose” and that he had “no truck with any of those comments”.
Nathan Gill, Wales
Faced criticism for saying in an ITV debate, that the European elections were not “necessarily about sending people over to Brussels who are going to have a 100 per cent attendance record”.
Other members of the panel questioned whether the people of Wales would be very happy with Ukip saying: “Please vote for us but we aren’t going to represent you.”
Mr Gill responded with: “It’s a great question, because what is the point of the European Parliament?”
David Coburn, Scotland
The last of the Ukip MEPs to be announced, Mr Coburn is the party's first ever in Scotland and said the “revolution” had spread north of the Border.
Yet he has also claimed that gay marriage “breeds homophobia” and that he would move to ban it - despite being openly gay and in a 30-year-strong relationship with the same partner.
Mr Coburn told The Scotsman: “Civil partnerships should be enough. Gay marriage breeds homophobia as people are happy enough to tolerate gay people. I don’t see the point of crossing the road to pick a fight with people of faith.”
Ukip’s other winners were Margot Parker in the East Midlands, Jonathan Arnott in the North East, Louise Bours and Steven Woolfe in the North West, Ray Finch in the South East and Jill Seymour in the West Midlands
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