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  1. ITV Report

John Rees-Evans announces bid for Ukip leadership

John Rees-Evans has announced his bid for the leadership of Ukip. Credit: Ukip TV Wales

Former Ukip parliamentary candidate, John Rees-Evans, has become the latest person to announce a bid for the leadership of Ukip.

Mr Rees-Evans is best known for once accusing a "homosexual donkey" of trying to rape his horse.

Mr Rees-Evans apologised for his controversial comments made in 2014, describing them as "playful banter with a mischievous activist".

As he announced his candidacy for the leadership on the BBC, Mr Rees-Evans referred to the story: "I concede it was a mistake to be playful with an activist in the street, the fact is I'm not a politician.

"The guy was just asking me questions in the street.

"It was an error of judgment.

"I was very early coming into politics and I'm sorry if I offended anyone by doing that but can we please move on?"

Diane James quit as Ukip leader after just 18 days in the job. Credit: Ben Birchall / PA Wire

The former Cardiff South and Penarth parliamentary candidate also admitted that he once took a handgun to Ikea in Bulgaria, where he has a home.

He said: "Yes, in fact I did because it simply wasn't safe to hand it over to the security and there were things I had to get."

Mr Rees-Evans, who has released his campaign video on Twitter, will battle Suzanne Evans, Paul Nuttall and Raheem Kassam for the leadership position.

Ukip has been plunged into turmoil since Diane James quit as leader after just 18 days in the job following the departure of Nigel Farage.

Mr Rees-Evans blamed Ukip's recent infighting on the fact it is a party of "freedom fighters without an enemy" after the Brexit vote.

Referencing his own experience in the British Army, Mr Rees-Evans said: "The Parachute Regiment, people are going out in the week, working hard, there are challenges.

"At the weekend with nothing much to do they end up fighting with each other - it's very common with fighters.

"Ukip is a party of fighters, what I'm proposing to do is direct all that aggression towards the enemy."