Ukip has been blasted for staying silent after it was revealed members of its youth wing traded Islamophobic, homophobic and anti-Semitic comments in a secret Facebook group.
HuffPost UK revealed last month that members of the The YI [Young Independence] Faculty group have used the word “faggot”, described Islam as a religion of “hatred, genocide and slavery” and claimed the Prophet Mohammed was a “murderous paedophile.”
Among those making the comments was a former Ukip parliamentary candidate, and the group itself was administered by figures at the top of the party’s Young Independence wing.
Yet despite repeated requests for information on whether any disciplinary action, including a call to Ukip’s new chairman Paul Oakden, the party have not revealed if anything has been done.
Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland said: “The comments posted in this Ukip Facebook group are disgraceful and our politics must have no space for such hate-filled slurs.
“It is extraordinary that Ukip are not saying what action they have taken, if at all.
“Silence from the Ukip hierarchy sends the strong message that they are willing to tolerate such comments, which itself encourages further such behaviour.
“I would urge Ukip’s senior leaders to immediately condemn the comments in this Facebook group, take disciplinary action where necessary, and to remind its activists of what acceptable behaviour is and what isn’t.”
Group members also frequently use the word “cuck” - an insult associated with white supremacist groups - to disparage supporters of Douglas Carswell and others who are perceived to be disloyal to Nigel Farage.
After HuffPost UK revealed the comments being traded in the group, it was closed down by the administrators.
Yet despite one member of YI telling HuffPost UK the group “is full of some of the most racist, hurtful and pathetic comments I have ever seen”, it is not clear that any action has been taken.
Nathan Somerville – Ukip’s candidate in Livingstone in the 2015 General Election - described Jews on Twitter putting brackets around their names as having “literally sewed stars on themselves.”
Attacking Lisa Duffy, Oscar Gomez, a former local election candidate in North East Derbyshire, wrote: “Roll the fat fuck down the street and straight to the RSPCA. We can flog her off as an unwanted butchers dog.”
Another group member, Edwin Smith, wrote: “She rolls her sleeves up before assaulting another bucket of deep fried poultry.”
After a picture was posted of Duffy mocked up as Mr Blobby with the caption: “Mrs Duffy says Move on”, Smith wrote: “She needs to ‘move on’ to a treadmill.”
Lisa Duffy’s campaign manager Jay Beecher said: “The trolling and body-shaming directed at Lisa by certain members of YI must be dealt with. But what concerns me a great deal more are the racist comments which the chairman of YI not only failed to address, but in providing young members with this bizarre notion that they could have a platform for “freedom of speech”- that they could ignore the rules and constitution of our party with no consequence- he openly encouraged.
He added: “It needs reforming, restructuring, and most importantly aligning with the national party. Political Youth Wings should be a voice for talent, enthusiasm and ambition- a stepping stone for young hopefuls into politics. Not a platform for abuse and petulant behaviour.”
When confronted with the revelations on August 19, a Ukip spokesman said: “The postings were made on an unmonitored unofficial private group loosely associated with Ukip. The postings do not represent Ukip’s position or values in any way and these posts will be looked into and appropriate action may be taken.”
UPDATE: After this story was published, a Ukip spokesman said “wheels were in motion” to organise a disciplinary hearing to consider the comments.