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Farage popularity hit by ongoing Ukip blunders

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been criticised after his attempts to defend a former UKIP parliamentary candidate's remarks about Chinese people and homosexuals only appeared to make matters worse.

Mr Farage said controversial comments made by disgraced former Ukip candidate Kerry Smith were because he was a "rough diamond".

ITV News' Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports on how the controversy is affecting Mr Farage's popularity.

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Ukip candidate resigns over offensive comments

Kerry Smith has resigned as his party's candidate in a top target seat. Credit: PA Wire

Kerry Smith has resigned as Ukip's prospective parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock after apologising for making offensive comments, he announced in a statement.

Recordings of phone calls obtained by the Mail on Sunday captured the would-be MP calling gay party members "poofters" and referring to someone as a "Chinky bird".

The comments were revealed just days after he was reinstated as the party's candidate in the top target seat - and Smith had already made an apology for deciding to resign.

I have this evening offered my resignation as Ukip PPC for South Basildon and East Thurrock.

I want the best for South Basildon and East 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.

– Kerry Smith, Ukip candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock

Express newspaper owner 'donates £300,000 to Ukip'

Richard Desmond. Credit: PA

Ukip's general election war chest has been boosted by a reported £300,000 donation pledge from newspaper proprietor Richard Desmond.

Mr Desmond is believed to have discussed the gift at a meeting with the Ukip leader earlier this month. Sky News said it was not clear whether the money had yet been handed over.

We do not discuss donations.

If we receive them we report them to the Electoral Commission in accordance with legislation.

– Ukip spokesman

The Daily Express and Sunday Express have been strongly supportive of Ukip's stance on immigration and Europe.

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Natasha Bolter had praised Ukip attitude to women

The former MP candidate who has accused Ukip's general secretary of propositioning her had previously praised the party's respect for women.

Speaking at the Ukip conference in September, Natasha Bolter contrasted Ukip to her former party, Labour, where she said women "cannot speak about women's issues".

The women in UKIP have flourished equally alongside our male counterparts, we are seen for our intelligence and aptitude, we are seen for our hard graft, we are respected for the contribution. I want to be a candidate for UKIP and win, but I want to be selected on merit.

Within UKIP we do not need equality policies because we are equal. (applause) If we assume there is a difference between men and women there will always be inequality

– Natasha Bolter, speaking in September

Bad publicity, but Ukip says it has responded swiftly

UKIP is once again getting the kind of publicity it could well do without - this time over the alleged behaviour of its general secretary Roger Bird.

Natasha Bolter, who claims she was propositioned by Ukip's general secretary, Roger Bird. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

He's now been suspended while an investigation gets underway into 'allegations of impropriety' involving a new recruit Natasha Bolter. Mr Bird denies any wrongdoing.

A party spokesman said: 'I don't think we could have acted any quicker. Of course, there's reputational damage but we are actually dealing with the issue, not covering it up, as some other (parties) would have done.'

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