الإثنين , مايو 17 2021

Kerry Smith quits as UKIP candidate

Kerry Smith

Kerry Smith has resigned as a UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate after apologising for offensive remarks he made in a phone call.

He was selected to fight the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat after ex-Tory MP Neil Hamilton pulled out.

In a recording obtained by the Mail On Sunday, Mr Smith made offensive remarks about gay people, other UKIP members and Chigwell in Essex.

He later issued a “wholehearted and unreserved apology”.

Following his resignation on Sunday, Mr Smith said in a statement: “I want the best for South Basildon and Thurrock and I want to see the real issues discussed that touch the lives of people.

“Therefore I have chosen to resign so that UKIP can win this seat next May.”

UKIP hopes to make a serious challenge for the South Basildon and East Thurrock seat in the forthcoming general election.

During the recorded conversation, Mr Smith talks about UKIP’s lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) group. He can be heard jokingly referring to it as BLT UKIP, and adds “what the old poofter groups call themselves”.

He jokes about “shooting peasants” from the Essex town of Chigwell and supporting “a peasant’s hunt through Chigwell village”.

Neil Hamilton and Kerry SmithKerry Smith became UKIP’s candidate in South Basildon after ex-Tory MP Neil Hamilton (left) quit the race

A UKIP spokesman confirmed to the BBC that Mr Smith had apologised to the party’s leader Nigel Farage for allegations made against him during the phone call – which Mr Smith has since retracted.

Patrick O’Flynn, UKIP MEP for the East of England, told BBC One’s Sunday Politics that the phone call had been made “some time ago while he was on sedatives” and he had not been “speaking and thinking rationally”.

After Mr Hamilton withdrew his candidacy for the Basildon seat earlier this week, Channel 4 reported seeing a letter from UKIP’s finance committee querying expenses claims made by him.

Mr Hamilton, UKIP’s deputy chairman, said his decision to withdraw from the Basildon selection process was nothing to do with expenses, but that it was a UKIP “dirty trick” to stitch him up.

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