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”.
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”.
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.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies