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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

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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.

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

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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.'

Ukip's Roger Bird claims he had 'brief' relationship with candidate

Ukip's suspended general secretary has claimed he had a "brief" relationship with high-profile MP candidate Natasha Bolter, but insisted there was no link to her selection as a candidate.

Ms Bolter denies any relationship with Roger Bird, who was responsible for vetting the party's prospective candidates.

She told the Times Mr Bird had propositioned her on the day she was interviewed about becoming a candidate - a claim Ukip is now investigating.

But Mr Bird told the BBC: "We were in a relationship briefly, but that relationship developed well after she had been admitted to the approved candidates list, so her selection was not connected to that."

Ukip official suspended after sexual harassment claim

Ukip's general secretary Roger Bird has been suspended following allegations of sexual harassment by one of the party's high-profile female candidates.

Natasha Bolter at the Ukip conference in Doncaster. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Natasha Bolter - who defected to Ukip from Labour - told The Times that Mr Bird, 41, propositioned her after inviting her for dinner at his London club on the day he interviewed her as a prospective candidate.

A party spokesman confirmed that an investigation had been launched into the allegations but denied reports that Ms Bolter, 35, has now quit the party.

"We take what she said extremely seriously," a Ukip spokesman said.

Ms Bolter denies any romantic or sexual contact took place. It is understood Mr Bird - who is responsible for vetting candidates - has claimed that he had a consensual relationship with Ms Bolter, The Times reported.

Mr Bird told BBC news that he denies the claim.

Ukip: Roger Bird suspended 'pending full investigation'

General Secretary Roger Bird was suspended yesterday pending a full investigation into the allegations relating to candidate selection, Ukip announced.

Shortly after a claim came to light about the conduct of Mr Bird with regard to candidate selection, the UK Independence Party took action swiftly and decisively, including steps involving external Human Resources consultants, as well as following due process and the party's constitution to the letter.

Unfortunately, Ukip has had to suspend Mr Bird pending a full investigation into allegations made against him. The party has acted swiftly and decisively and will not tolerate impropriety of any kind amongst its staff.

– Ukip spokesperson

A party spokesman declined to discuss the nature of the allegations, but said that they did not relate to a recent row which reportedly saw more than a dozen Ukip activists quit the party over leader Nigel Farage's handling of the candidate selection process.

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