Support 100 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
15 December 2014updated 24 Jul 2021 5:06am

Ukip loses its second Basildon candidate as Kerry Smith resigns over homophobic and racist remarks

Following the former Tory MP Neil Hamilton pulling out, Ukip loses its second candidate to fight the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat.

By Anoosh Chakelian

It’s been a difficult past week for Ukip. Nigel Farage’s controversial comments about breastfeeding and immigrants causing traffic has led to mockery and derision. The harrassment row concerning Natasha Bolter’s allegations against general secretary Roger Bird rumbles on. A Ukip official in charge of vetting candidates, David Soutter, admitted half his time is spent “weeding out the lunatics”.

And the ex-Tory MP who is now a Ukip politician, Neil Hamilton, saw the Ukip finance committee querying his expenses claims. The Financial Times reported that Ukip’s second largest donor, Stuart Wheeler, refused to give further money to the party unless Hamilton stopped pursuing the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat.

Hamilton pulled out of the selection contest to find a Ukip candidate for the Essex seat, and now the party has lost its second candidate for the constituency. Kerry Smith has resigned as a prospective parliamentary candidate for using racist and homophobic language. The Guardian reports his offensive remarks: describing gay people as “fucking disgusting old poofters”, referring to a woman with a Chinese name as a “chinky”, and joking about “shooting peasants”.

Smith has issued an apology:

I wish to issue a wholehearted and unreserved apology to those who I have offended within the party and anyone else. With regards to the leadership and management of the party, I was completely wrong and my comments were fuelled by frustrations.

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. A handy, three-minute glance at the week ahead in companies, markets, regulation and investment, landing in your inbox every Monday morning. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A weekly dig into the New Statesman’s archive of over 100 years of stellar and influential journalism, sent each Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

However, the party’s economic spokesman and Farage’s communications chief, Patrick O’Flynn, stood by Smith over the weekend, blaming the “prescription sedatives” Smith was taking when he made the remarks.

Content from our partners
How automation can help telecoms companies unlock their growth potential
The pandemic has had a scarring effect on loneliness, but we can do better
Feel confident gifting tech to your children this Christmas

Although all this looks like a shambles for Ukip, it is telling how quickly the party is reacting to its internal problems. As it inches closer to winning a handful of MPs in the general election, it is clearly taking concerning behaviour by its members increasingly seriously.