Ukip's chances of holding on to their eurosceptic bloc in European Parliament were saved by controversial Polish right-winger Robert Jaroslaw Iwaszkiewicz yesterday.
The Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group, headed by Ukip leader Nigel Farage, suffered a huge blow when MEP Iveta Grigule of the Latvian Farmers' Union quit on Thursday.
As groups need members of seven different EU countries, the EFDD were likely to lose their privileges such as delivering speeches in parliament and access to £1 million funding with the departure of Ms Grigule.
Mr Iwaszkiewicz from the Congress of the New Right (KNP) joined the EFDD which includes Italy's 5-star Movement, and is reported to have said that domestic violence "would help bring wives back down to Earth."
The 52-year-old MEP dismissed his remarks as "ironic" and that they were not meant to be taken literally, in an interview with Wroclaw Gazette in May.
In the same interview, he reportedly added: "If taxes were lower in Hitler's time, and now they're higher, what's wrong with wanting to say so?"
Iwaszkiewicz insisted that he was not "glorifying Hitler", adding that he was "commonly recognised" as "a rascal, a criminal and so on".
KNP founder Janusz Korwin-Mikke was fined last month for using racist language at a debate, caused outrage with comments on the Holocaust and disagreeing with women's right to vote.
He said in 2007: "Women still should not have the right to vote. Just choose any political meeting at random and see how many women are present."
He also reportedly claimed that Hitler would be acquitted from court today as he had no idea that the Nazis were waging atrocities on Jewish people across Europe.
Mr Korwin-Mikke said: "Show me even one sentence of Hitler, that will attest to the fact that he knew about the extermination of the Jews. You will not find [it]."
Ukip’s new friend Iwaszkievicz himself defended his party leader, saying Janusz “did not say whether Hitler knew or did not know, only that there is no evidence for this”. He added:
However, these statements have not discouraged Mr Farage who said: "The Eurosceptics are now back with a bang."
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
"EU Federalists will be sitting in a corner somewhere slowly rocking muttering the words 'please make the Eurosceptics go away' over and over. We will now make the EU's centralising fanatics regret their short-lived bout of hubris," he added.
Ukip - which makes up half of EFDD with 24 out of 48 members, accused "federalist" parties of pressuring speaker Ms Grigule to leave the group, but these allegations have been denied.
Ms Grigule said she left EFDD as she disagreed with Mr Farage's overpowering leadership and the mistreatment of the group by parliamentary authorities.
The temporary collapse of EFDD was welcomed by other parties including the Conservatives.
A party spokesman had said: "This is further evidence that, as Nigel Farage himself has admitted, Ukip can't change a thing in Europe.
"They stand on the sidelines shouting but have no plan, no influence, and now have no group. It is only the Conservative Party that has a credible plan to reform the EU and then to give the British people a say on our membership, and it is only the Conservative Party that can deliver on this plan."Reuse content