POLITICS

Ukip Suspends General Election 2015 Candidate For Racial Abuse And Threats To Shoot Rival

05/05/2015 21:27 BST | Updated 06/05/2015 10:59 BST
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CROYDON, ENGLAND - MAY 20: A UKIP party poster outside Whitgift Shopping Centre in Croydon on May 20, 2014 in Croydon, England. Mr Farage was due to attend the UKIP mini carnival in Croydon High Street but pulled out at the last minute. Designed to show diversity within his party organisers said his no show was due to fears for his safety. (Photo by Dan Dennison/Getty Images)

Ukip has sounded very grateful to the media for exposing one of their candidates' threat to murder his rival, telling the press: "You keep fishing them out for us, we'll keep suspending them."

The Mirror published a video of Robert Blay speaking to its investigators about Tory opponent Ranil Jayawardena at a public meeting on Saturday in Ramsgate addressed by party leader Nigel Farage.

"If he is I will personally put a bullet between his eyes. If this lad turns up to be our prime minister I will personally put a bullet in him. That's how strong I feel about it," he told the paper's undercover reporter.

"I won't have this fucker as our prime minister. I absolutely loathe him."

Speaking after Mr Blay was suspended, deputy party chair Suzanne Evans said: "One of the things I'd be very keen to do is to have a look at our candidate assessment process and see how we can toughen it up because, while I have spent this campaign saying we are certainly no worse than the other parties, I would like to think we could be better in the future.

"I think we do need to look at our candidate assessment process, look at how we vet people more closely and do it in more depth, and it's certainly something I will be pushing for after the election."

In response to further questions from reporters, Ms Evans said: "You keep fishing them out for us, we'll keep suspending them.

"That's what we'll do until - we don't want this thing in the party. We're the only party that will not tolerate any former members of extremist groups and I'm very proud of that record.

"We make mistakes but when we make mistakes we're honest enough to put our hands up and deal with them."

Patrick O'Flynn, Ukip's economy spokesman, praised the Daily Mirror's story and noted its questioning "drew out opinions which were clearly obnoxious".

He added: "We've taken the action that's appropriate. I'm looking forward to the similar expose of the inner city Birmingham segregated meetings by the Labour Party. I guess that'll be prominent in tomorrow's Mirror and it might just be in time to sway a few readers in their vote.

"In terms of most problems we've had, they do tend to be people who have joined us from the Conservative Party, that's very true.

"I don't know particularly why that is and I certainly don't know why this candidate came to us from the Conservative Party, but they will deal with their disciplinary issues and we'll deal with ours."

Ex-Conservative Mr Blay - who is standing for election in North East Hampshire - noted during his conversation with The Mirror that Mr Jayawardena had been tipped as Britain's first Asian prime minister.

Questioning Mr Jayawardena's background, he said: "His family have only been here since the 70s. You are not British enough to be in our parliament.

"I've got 400 years of ancestry where I live. He hasn't got that."

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And he told the investigators of the safe seat: "But I've always said in my constituency you could put a monkey out there with a blue rosette on and it would win."

He accused his rival's father of having come to Britain from Sri Lanka and "ponced off us ... like all the East Europeans are".

"His name's Jayawardena and I'm told that name is a Tamil name.

"Well the Tamils were Indians which went to Sri Lanka to take it over and they got their asses kicked. So he comes here, ponces off us and then his son's in our political system."

A Ukip spokesman said Mr Blay had been suspended as soon as the remarks came to light - and offered an apology to Mr Jayawardena.

But it pointed to the candidate's "long career" as a Conservative as evidence such views were not confined to its ranks.

"The views expressed by Mr Blay are abhorrent," the spokesman said.

"As soon as they were brought to our attention he was suspended from the party. Any comments of this sort have absolutely no place in British politics or public life, and the party would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mr Jayawardena for any distressed caused.

"Mr Blay has been immediately suspended from the party. Ukip acts immediately in circumstances such as these.

"Unfortunately, as every party has found over the past few months, internal vetting systems are not perfect, which is reflected in the fact that since January of this year, 300 Labour, Liberal Democrat, and Conservative Party candidates across the country have found themselves suspended, expelled, or even jailed for foul behaviour of all kinds.

"We are also deeply concerned that Mr Blay had a long career in the Conservative Party, including being his local association chairman - which goes to prove that issues with candidates such as these are not limited to Ukip."

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