Ukip homophobia row candidate resigns
In recorded phone conversations passed to the Mail on Sunday, Kerry Smith - the party’s candidate for the South Basildon and East Thurrock constituency - branded Ukip’s LGBT supporters "f***ing disgusting old pooftahs" and referred to a woman with a Chinese name as "Chinky".
But in statement issued by the party tonight, Mr Kerry confirmed: “I have this evening offered my resignation as the Ukip PPC for South Basildon and East Thurrock.
"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.”
He earlier offered a "wholehearted and unreserved apology", while the party's economic spokesman Patrick O'Flynn said the former candidate's "sub-optimal" remarks were made while he was "on prescription sedatives after suffering an injury".
But he told the Sunday Politics: "Using derogatory terminology is not right at this level of politics and you shouldn’t do it... If Kerry Smith was seriously homophobic he would not be backing David Coburn, who is gay, over Stephen Woolfe, who is not.”
Conservative MP Nadine Dorries described Mr Smith’s comments as “absolutely appalling”, as well as abusive.
“Up until this point, any anti-Ukip story published… Ukip have jumped on and accused [them] of being against Ukip," she told Sky's Murnaghan.
"That has helped them. I think this story today... I think this may turn the tide.”