Sunday 14 December 2014

It may have been the medication talking but Kerry Smith still needs to resign

Covert recordings of UKIP PPC for Basildon South, Kerry Smith, from more than a year and a half ago have been leaked to the Mail on Sunday.

In the recordings Smith describes members of an LGBTQ group as "fucking disgusting old pooftahs" and jokingly refers to them as BLTs. He also makes a joke about shooting peasants and refers to a lady with a Chinese name as "chinky".

Kerry Smith has issued a full apology and explained that he was on sedatives at the time due to an injury. UKIP Director of Communications, Patrick O'Flynn, says that there are "big mitigating circumstances" and that the party is judging him on his performance going forward.

If Smith was on strong sedatives at the time and not thinking or speaking rationally as has been claimed then yes, it's probably excusable. It was also a covert recording of a private conversation, not a public meeting or a post on a website. However, these accusations of racism and homophobia are going to be levelled at him from now until May and it's going to seriously harm his prospects in the general election. The right thing for him to do is to stand down and let someone without baggage take his place.

David Soutter, the man in charge of vetting candidates, told the Sunday Times that he spends more time "weeding out the lunatics" than he does finding candidates. It's great to know that he's doing a thorough job making sure that the majority of candidates don't have extreme views or skeletons in the closet.