Kerry Smith resigns as UKIP candidate over phone call remarks
UKIP candidate Kerry Smith has resigned over racist and homophobic comments he made during a phone conversation.
Smith claims these statements were made under the influence of heavy medication. The prospective parliamentary candidate was recorded making slurs against gay members of UKIP, as well as a racist slur against an Asian woman.
In the conversation, he also joked about shooting poor people from Chigwell and made allegations against UKIP leader Nigel Farage. He later retracted the statements made about Farage.
UKIP have faced many negative headlines in recent weeks. Natasha Bolter, who briefly replaced Smith as candidate for the seat, handed in her resignation after claiming she was sexually harassed by the UKIP general secretary Roger Bird. Following her departure, the former Tory minister Neil Hamilton was seen as the prime candidate; however, he withdrew his candidacy after being questioned about his expenses.
Following his resignation today, Smith stated: “I have chosen to resign so that UKIP can win this seat next May.”
Patrick O’Flynn, UKIP MEP for the East of England, came to the defence of Smith. In a statement on BBC One’s Sunday Politics, O’Flynn said: “This was a phone call some time ago while he was on sedatives by his own account, not really speaking, thinking rationally.”
The party’s immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe has commended the way this situation has been handled, and has shown admiration for how the party has grown and matured. Woolfe stated: “What you are seeing is a party taking this extremely seriously and when we do have issues we are dealing with them really rapidly.”