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Nigel Farage's personal rating falls sharply in new poll

Nigel Farage's personal approval rating has slipped markedly in a new poll that puts the Ukip leader's popularity below David Cameron.

His net approval rating - the percentage of voters who approve of his performance minus those who disapprove - fell to -17%, eight points lower than a fortnight ago.

The Prime Minister was on -11%, with Ed Miliband on -28% and Nick Clegg on -48%.

Nigel Farage's popularity has waned over the past fortnight. Credit: Empics Entertainment/EMPICS Entertainment

Since the last Opinium poll Mr Farage has faced criticism for comments about breastfeeding in which he suggested that mothers could "sit in the corner" in restaurants while feeding babies to avoid offending people.

The party has also been hit by the resignation of would-be MP Kerry Smith over a leaked recording of him making derogatory comments.

The Opinium poll for the Observer also had bad news for the Liberal Democrats, who slipped to just 6% support, compared to 16% for Ukip.

The survey put Labour on 36% support, seven points ahead of the Conservatives.

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Ukip advice to members on social media: 'Just don't'

Ukip members have been urged to avoid using social media following a series of controversies over inappropriate comments.

Party chairman Steve Crowther said his approach to sites such as Twitter and Facebook was "just don't" as the party updated its rules about use of its logo on the internet.

Ukip members and supporters have been involved in several rows over their online activity, but Nigel Farage's party has also been the target of spoof accounts using its logo.

Nigel Farage speaking at the Ukip conference in September. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

A copy of the party's new constitution, seen by the Observer, lays out "rules for online communication", stating that:

Party members shall refrain from using the Ukip logo in terms of their online postings, including avatars, unless they have express written consent to do so from the party leader, the party chairman, the party secretary, the general secretary, the party director, the regional chairman or regional organiser for their region.

– Ukip

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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