One of the candidates tipped to replace Nigel Farage as Ukip leader has sparked outrage for a history of controversial comments that have resurfaced in the wake of his nomination.
Raheem Kassam faced a backlash for the catalogue of tweets, including a now-deleted post that joked Nicola Sturgeon should have her legs taped shut to stop her “reproducing”, after the SNP leader tragically miscarried.
Politics.co.uk’s Adam Bienkov posted a screenshot of the quip, leading to a trawl of the social media profile of the man who says he wants to “make Ukip great again”.
SNP MP Stewart McDonald picked up on the comment, describing Kassam as a “nasty piece of work” who was “probably perfect for the Ukip leadership”.
Kassam replied that he refused to be lectured by a “National Socialist party”.
Prompting McDonald to brand him a “scumbag” and call for an apology.
Kassam retorted that the joke, originally published during one of the TV debates on EU membership weeks before the referendum, was made before he knew of the First Minister’s miscarriage.
The Huffington Post UK has contacted Kassam to ask him to provide details of the apology.
Hours earlier, Suzanne Evans, Ukip’s former interim leader and another candidate in the race triggered by Dianne James’ resignation, described her rival in the election as “far-right”.
In response, Kassam wrote her a letter asking for the pair to meet to show the various factions of Ukip could “be united once and for all”.
But the Metro newspaper’s deputy news editor Joel Taylor posted a screenshot of an old message from Kassam that seemed to show a contrasting effort.
The post responded to news Evans had had her Ukip membership suspended. Kassam had writeen: “Now fuck off for good.”
Others pointed to more of Kassam’s tweets, including one that asked as a “genuine question” if former Labour minister Angela Eagle “was in the special needs class” at school.
Pulled up on the post by one social media user, Kassam responded:
Earlier in the day, he told LBC of his position in the Ukip leadership race: “I am now the front runner in this campaign and that is because I believe that we are making people excited about Ukip again.
“We’re making people feel that the party has relevance in a time of great existential crisis and there is a man who’s coming for the positive ideas for the party and I think we need to continue with that.”