– UKIP leader Nigel Farage
I am in absolutely no doubt at all that that photograph of Alex Wood was nothing to do with a Nazi gesture. He was literally reaching across the pub to pull the camera away from a girlfriend who was photographing him and I have witness statements that support that. I am very angry that a 21-year-old was sacked from his job quite wrongly because of what was said in a national newspaper.
A UKIP local election candidate for Somerset pictured making a supposed Nazi-style salute was in fact trying to grab a camera from his girlfriend, party leader Nigel Farage has said.
Mr Farage said he believed the explanation given by Alex Wood for the photo which appeared on the front of the Daily Mirror.
But Mr Wood, 21, remains suspended while police investigate his claims offensive comments added to the picture were made by other people after his account was "hijacked", a Ukip spokesman said.
When Alex Wood, the suspended UKIP candidate for Blackmore Vale in the county elections for Somerset, was asked whether he was raising his hand in an alleged "Nazi" salute as was pictured on the front page of a newspaper, he said the photo had been misconstrued.
He said: "No I am not. The pictures that have appeared of me have been taken from a private Facebook account. These are not what they seem to be. First of all, the supposed salute was my left hand reaching for my friend's mobile phone.
He added: "She has made a statement which clears up the meaning of them.
"These statements are completely untrue, my Facebook has been hacked, this matter is being dealt with by the police."
He denied he has ever held any extreme right view.
He said: "Absolutely not. I see myself as a democratic libertarian. Racist, homophobic and fascists views absolutely disgust me. I am completely against such views. These statements are not mine."
Ukip leader Nigel Farage MEP says the party will "get rid" of an already suspended Somerset candidate if they find he has extremist views.
Alex Wood has denied being a racist after pictures emerged of him apparently making a Nazi salute on Facebook.
Suspended UKIP candidate, Alex Wood, explains the story behind the controversial photos that have surfaced from his Facebook page.
Suspended UKIP candidate Alex Wood denies being a racist after pictures emerged of him allegedly making a nazi salute.
Mr Wood was the UKIP candidate for Blackmore Vale in Somerset for the local elections taking place later this week.
– Alex Wood, suspended UKIP candidate
I deplore racism, fascism and nazism. I see myself as a democratic libertarian.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage admitted that a candidate pictured on the front page of a newspaper making the Nazi salute did "not look very pretty" ahead of Thursday's local elections.
Mr Farage, who said there had been "one or two teething problems" with the party's candidates, blamed UKIP's rapid growth for meaning some inappropriate people had slipped through the net.
He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "We have had, out of our 1,700 candidates, a handful who have embarrassed us, mostly because they simply haven't told us the truth.
"We are the only party in British politics who actually forbid former members of the BNP or extreme organisations from even becoming members of Ukip, let alone candidates and, in one or two cases, people haven't told us the truth.
"A huge amount of time and money has been spent on researching every single UKIP candidate standing in these elections. I would speculate if the same amount of scrutiny was put on the Labour and Conservative Party, they would find their own embarrassment."
Speaking to ITV West Country about the alleged 'Nazi' photo row, Mr Wood said 'a lot of what has been said is not true'. He also told our reporter that he was now receiving a lot of phone calls. The 21-year-old, until now a UKIP candidate for Blackmoor Vale, lives with his parents in North Dorset.