The latest development:
A Ukip candidate has resigned for describing gay people as “fucking disgusting old poofters” and referring to a woman with a Chinese name as a “chinky”, just hours after Ukip defended him saying he had been on sedatives at the time.
Kerry Smith, who was recently reinstated as Ukip’s candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock in Essex, initially apologised unreservedly for his remarks, before later deciding to resign.
In October, Smith was deselected as the candidate for the Essex seat without explanation and a new contest was ordered, which was due to include Neil Hamilton, the former Tory minister, and Natasha Bolter, a former Labour supporter.
The contest descended into chaos as questions were raised by Ukip about Hamilton’s expenses and Bolter became involved in a controversy about whether the party’s general secretary, Roger Bird, had made inappropriate sexual advances towards her. She accused Bird of harassment but, after the party suspended him, he hit back with text messages suggesting they had been in a consensual romantic relationship.
After Hamilton and Bolter withdrew, Smith won back his position as candidate.