A UKIP councillor’s hopes to become an MEP have been dashed after the party barred him from standing in response to allegations of racism.
Lincolnshire County Council’s ward-holder for Burgh and Wainfleet Coun Chris Pain has been categorised as ‘not a member of good standing’ for at least three months while police investigate the claims.
The Sunday Mirror and Hope not Hate campaign group last month published Facebook posts in which Coun Pain allegedly labelled immigrants as ‘bomb-making, camel-riding, goat-******* ragheads’ among other offensive terms. Coun Pain denies the allegations, claiming his account was hacked as part of a malicious attack against him and the party.
The former East Midlands party chairman had been poised to replace Derek Clark MEP as a candidate in next June’s European Elections.
But with only members of good standing permitted to apply before this month’s deadline, Coun Pain will be ineligible.
Although UKIP has delayed making a decision on Coun Pain’s future with the party, pending the investigation, he was suspended from its National Executive Committee at Monday’s meeting.
The NEC made no decision on Coun Pain’s role as the leader of the opposition at Lincolnshire County Council, having had no involvement with his appointment.
UKIP chairman Steve Crowther said: “The NEC has decided to suspend judgement pending the outcome of Lincolnshire Police’s investigations into the allegations, and into the alleged hacking of Coun Pain’s Facebook account.
“Mr Pain is to step down as chairman of the party’s East Midlands Regional Committee in the meantime.
“He will continue to represent the electors who voted him onto Lincolnshire County Council.”
Mr Crowther said that while the party ‘deplores racism’ there were doubts about the validity of the allegations made against him.
“UKIP deplores racism, but is also aware that the party is under concerted attack from political organisations such as Hope Not Hate who are attempting to thwart our progress,” he said.
“We will deal with any proven instance of genuine racism appropriately, but will resist politically-motivated campaigns designed to inhibit our growing popular support.
“We are aware of the increasing amount of internet hacking and counterfeiting, and will continue to work with the police and service providers to establish the veracity of any such allegations which may be made, and their sources.”
Despite the issues regarding the deadline, Coun Pain has since comfirmed it is still his intention to stand.
“There’s no truth to the claims, and once the issue’s cleared up I’ll still have until September to apply online,” he said.