UK & World News

  • 29 April 2014, 21:34

UKIP Candidate Quits Over Lenny Henry Remarks

UKIP election candidate William Henwood has resigned over his controversial comments about comedian Lenny Henry.

William Henwood, who was running for the party in local elections in Enfield, was responding to comments by Henry that there is a poor representation of ethnic minorities on British television.

On his Twitter account, he tweeted: "He should emigrate to a black country. He does not have to live with whites."

Mr Henwood has now resigned his membership of UKIP.

A party spokesman said it was "mutually agreed this would be the best course".

"Mr Henwood's remarks about Lenny Henry caused enormous offence and UKIP MEP candidate for the West Midlands Bill Etheridge spoke for many in the party with his strong condemnation," added the spokesman.

The party has also started action to kick out two members who it says have links to far-right groups.

According to a UKIP internal investigation, one of the unnamed men had been a British National Party member from 2005 to 2010.

The second is said to have been a donor to the English Defence League.

It comes as UKIP leader Nigel Farage said a cross-party group set up to brand his party as racist were "creeps" who needed teaching a lesson.

The anti-UKIP campaign is to be launched this week amid increasing concerns the anti-EU party will triumph at next month's European elections.

Polls at the weekend put UKIP ahead of the Tories for the first time.

Mr Farage said: "I think the British public will take this extremely badly. I believe they want and appreciate the new choices being offered to them by UKIP on issues like immigration control, and will certainly not appreciate being branded racist for doing so."

He added: "This is like the incident between Gordon Brown and Gillian Duffy at the last general election writ large: this time it is not merely one person being slandered by one establishment party, but huge numbers of decent British people under attack, and all three Westminster parties levelling the charge of racism and bigotry."

But the controversy over Mr Henwood's comments is not an isolated incident for UKIP.

In another embarrassing episode, Andre Lampitt - who appeared in its European election broadcast - was suspended last week after it emerged he had posted racist and Islamophobic tweets.

Mr Farage has sought to play down the two incidents by calling the men a " few rotten apples".