Ukip’s attempts to purge the party of members with controversial views have suffered a fresh setback after it emerged two council candidates have questioned whether Mo Farah is British and called for Islam to be banned.
Nigel Farage has spent the week insisting his party is not racist, and yesterday suspended two members for links to far-right groups.
But fresh comments have emerged from candidates in local elections on May 22 which cause further embarrassment to the party.
A UKIP council candidate queried whether Mo Farah was qualified to race for Team GB when he was an ‘African from Somalia’.
The jibe – made by David Wycherley, a Ukip council candidate for Walsall – came just hours after the runner seized the gold medal for the 10,000 metres at the 2012 London Games
The athlete, who grew up in London after fleeing his war-torn country – became a double Olympic champion for Team GB.
But Mr Wycherley queried whether he could be British, asking his Facebook friends to explain ‘how Mo Farah, an African from Somalia who trains in America, has won a Gold medal for Great Britain’.
In another Facebook post, Mr Wycherley, who is standing for the Rushall-Shelfield ward, joked about ‘starving Africans’ while complaining about his water bill.
It also emerged last night that Jackie Garnett, a Ukip candidate for the Royston South Ward in Oldham, suggested that the UK should ‘ban Islam and knock down all the mosques’ in a Facebook post.
A UKIP spokesman said that the party would investigate their posts, adding: ‘Ukip is a non-racist, non-sectarian party and all candidates and members are expected to uphold these values.
‘Where evidence is produced about individuals, it will be considered at the earliest opportunity by the national executive committee as part of an established disciplinary procedure.’
The row came just as another candidate, William Henwood who suggested comedian Lenny Henry should emigrate to a ‘black country’, quit his party membership.
Mr Henry had said there should be more people from ethnic minority backgrounds in the creative industries.
In response, Mr Henwood had told the BBC: ‘If black people come to this country and don’t like mixing with white people why are they here? If he (Henry) wants a lot of blacks around go and live in a black country.’
Ukip said that Mr Henwood’s remarks about Mr Henry ‘caused enormous offence and UKIP MEP candidate for the West Midlands Bill Etheridge spoke for many in the party with his strong condemnation’.
Ukip also suspended two unnamed members after it emerged that one had been a BNP member from 2005 until 2010 and another had given money to the English Defence League (EDL).
A Ukip source insisted that the men had a right to appeal which is why their identities were being kept secret.
He added that their links to the other parties had been uncovered by vetting procedures, adding: ‘We will be redoubling our efforts. It’s a tiny minority and we have to keep working hard to make sure the whole party’s reputation is not contaminated.’
Nigel Farage has banned anyone from taking up Ukip membership if they have links to the two extremist parties. The Ukip leader last night revealed he suspected that his party had been infiltrated and that ‘one or two people have joined Ukip with the intention of perhaps not doing it any good’.
‘I’m investigating that, looking at that as we speak,’ he told the BBC.
He has previously resisted sacking MEPs and councillors over controversial remarks.
Roger Helmer, a UKIP MEP, yesterday was forced on the defensive after saying people had as much right to dislike homosexuality as they did certain types of tea.
The politician, who has previously suggested people could have their sexuality ‘turned’ by psychiatrists, was asked by the Sun newspaper whether he stood by remarks that he found same sex relationships ‘distasteful if not viscerally repugnant’.
He said: ‘Different people have different tastes. You may tell me you don’t like Earl Grey tea. That may be a minority view but you are entitled not to like it if you don’t like it.’