UK & World News
UKIP To Purge Extreme Candidates Before Poll
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has promised to rid the party of its more extreme candidates ahead of the European and Local council elections in May.
He has ordered a clear-out in an attempt pull off one of the biggest upsets in modern political history - winning the most UK seats in the European Parliament.
He has already cut loose five MEPs from his line-up for the European and town hall elections, and the party is vetting all 1,818 candidates to make sure they do not have "extremist, barmy or nasty" views.
The clampdown was launched after MEP Godfrey Bloom branded African countries "Bongo Bongo Land" last year.
There has also been controversy this week as a UKIP councillor for Henley-on-Thames claimed the recent floods were due to Prime Minister David Cameron ignoring his warnings on legalising same-sex marriage.
David Silvester, who defected to UKIP from the Conservatives in 2012 over the issue, made the comments to his local newspaper the Henley Standard.
"The scriptures make it abundantly clear that a Christian nation that abandons its faith and acts contrary to the Gospel (and in naked breach of a coronation oath) will be beset by natural disasters such as storms, disease, pestilence and war," he said.
Mr Silvester was not backing down today, insisting his letter was serious and speaking out once again on his controversial views.
Challenged by a BBC presenter, he said: "God wants all gay men to repent and be healed. I don't believe it's right to leave them as they are. That's not God's purpose."
When asked about his views on issues such as abortion, Mr Silvester said: "More children have been murdered by abortion than Jews died in the concentration camps."
Announcing the crackdown, Mr Farage told The Sun: "Politics needs people with personality and backgrounds and they will all have one or two flaws. I have got my own red lines on this. That is real extremism and nastiness.
"We introduced a set of criteria by which we judged the exiting MEPs on how they've performed and what they have done.
"Some have been pushed and some have jumped. Of 13 MEPs elected, there are about five who won't be on the list of runners and riders again.
"Of all the candidates we fielded, only about half a dozen have caused us any embarrassment."
He added that the reason people tried to portray UKIP candidates in a poor light "is because we are terrifying the political establishment."
He told the newspaper he is convinced that victory in the European poll could be a springboard to their first MP.
He said he planned to stand for election in 2015, and was considering which seat to target.
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