Nigel Farage has come under fire from his former deputy after he dismissed Ukip's 2010 election manifesto as "drivel" and insisted he had not read it.
David Campbell-Bannerman, who was Ukip deputy leader and head of policy before joining the Tories, told HuffPostUK: "Nigel has just announced he thinks the UK should lift the ban on hand-guns, but he ought to be more careful, as I think he has just shot himself in the foot."
"Nigel has always been a bit of joker, and that is how he’ll stay.
"The truth is that Nigel refused to read even the 18 page manifesto, because he was ‘not interested in policies’ and Lord Pearson couldn’t remember any of it."
"That is not the behaviour of a serious politician and a party leader, and is possibly why pretty-much half the UKIP MEPs have left the party."
This comes after the Ukip leader was caught out during an interview over whether he still agreed with the contents of Ukip's 2010 election manifesto, which included a call for taxi drivers to be required to wear uniforms and for trains to be painted in "traditional' colours.
Farage ended up disowning all the contents of the Ukip 2010 manifesto, insisting that all party policies were under review and would still be of a "similar flavour" when revealed after this May's European Elections.
Speaking to LBC on Friday morning, the MEP - who had briefly stood down as leader to focus on unsuccessfully running for a Commons seat - claimed he "didn't read" the manifesto and dismissed it as "486 pages of drivel" and a "nonsense".
He added that the "idiot" who wrote it had since left to join the Tories, in a swipe at Campbell-Bannerman, who was head of policy and deputy leader until he left in 2011.
Ironically the man who is now Ukip's current head of policy, Tim Aker, used to advise Campbell-Bannerman and serve on his policy team at the time he was responsible for the manifesto now called "drivel" by Farage.
Ukip's then chief party spokesman and parliamentary candidate Nigel Farage speaking at the launch of the 2010 manifesto...which he hadn't read
However, Farage's attempt to distance himself from the 2010 Ukip manifesto was undermined by the fact that he co-signed the foreword to the summary 16 page manifesto with then leader Lord Pearson and Campbell-Bannerman as well as speaking at the 2010 manifesto launch alongside the pair.
Farage also defended Ukip's manifesto in interviews during the 2010 General Election campaign.
The foreword to Ukip's 2010 'drivel', co-authored by Nigel Farage
Speaking at the launch of the 2010 manifesto, Farage said: "The choice the public has is not about a change of government but a change of management. It’s time for some straight talk about who governs Britain.
"Ever since this party was born, we were told you’ve got no chance, it won’t go anywhere. But on the last national test of opinion, which was the European elections on June 4th last year, little Ukip came second. Beating the Liberal Democrats and beating the Labour party. I have a sense that out there in the country, despite the difficulties of this electoral system, we are doing very much better in this general election than we ever have before. Don’t completely write us off."
Speaking at the same event, Campbell-Bannerman described the manifesto as the result of 17 Ukip policy groups working on it for three years.
Campbell-Bannerman launching the 2010 Ukip manifesto. Note Nigel Farage's voice at the end telling you to 'find out more about who we are...' on their website
Farage said he was "really annoyed" by suggestions that Ukip had wanted in 2010 to scrap Trident, the nuclear submarine-based missile defence system which dates back to the 1960s.
His insistence that scrapping Trident had "never' been put out there formally as party policy and was not on the site was later undermined by the discovery that Ukip's site still lists their plans to make defence savings by "cancelling the Trident replacement".
Farage said the policy was being reviewed as well, adding: "We have been thinking very hard what to do with Trident...but it will not involve scrapping Trident.
"I think there is an argument that, in tight times, we could go down from four to three submarines, but I think we need to maintain the independent nuclear deterrent."