UKIP: a history of cranks and oddballs

Donna Edmunds, a UKIP councillor and candidate in the European elections, has said that businesses should be able to refuse services to women and gay people. She isn't the first UKIP candidate to court controversy.

Fresh controversy has been sparked after Donna Edmunds, a UKIP councillor in Lewes and a candidate for the party in the European elections, said that businesses should be able to refuse services to women and gay people (she now says she regrets the comments).

Edmunds expressed this opinion in response to a question on whether she supported David Silvester, the UKIP councillor for Henley-on-Thames who claimed that the recent storms and floods were caused by the government’s introduction of gay marriage.

These are just the latest in a long line of gaffes by UKIP candidates and representatives.

Here are some previous examples:

  • Geoffrey Clarke, a candidate in council elections in Kent, was suspended by the party in December 2012 after calling for an NHS review to look into whether foetuses with Down’s syndrome and spina bifida should be compulsorily aborted.
  • Eric Kitson, a UKIP councillor on Worcestershire County Council, resigned in May last year after it was discovered that he had been posting racist and anti-Muslim cartoons on Facebook.
  • Anna-Marie Crampton, a candidate in council elections in East Sussex, was suspended by the party after making anti-Semitic comments in April last year, in which she claimed that the Jews deliberately organised the Second World War and sacrificed their own people in the Holocaust.

There are also the claims which have been made about the party’s leader Nigel Farage. As the party’s conference started in September last year, an alleged incident was brought to light from 1981 (when Farage was a member of the cadet force at his school, Dulwich College) in which he and others are supposed to have marched around a Sussex village singing Hitler Youth songs.

Channel 4 News also uncovered a letter from around this time, in which a teacher at Dulwich College claimed that Farage held “publicly professed racist and neo-fascist views” and expressed concern that he had been made a prefect.

Considering the phenomenon of the ‘rogue’ UKIP member is seemingly never ending, perhaps the cranks and oddballs are less the exception, but rather the rule.

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