UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said racist Facebook posts allegedly made by his party’s Lincolnshire group leader will be discussed at a meeting in two weeks’ time.
Talking on BBC Two’s Jeremy Vine show yesterday, Mr Farage said that Coun Chris Pain’s alleged comments referring to ‘illegal immigrants’ as ‘bomb-making ragheads’ were ‘over the top’.
“The disease of social media is that people on Facebook and Twitter - particularly after dinner - say things that in many cases they regret afterwards,” he said
“We had 1,740 candidates that stood for us in the English local elections and a handful of them have caused us an embarrassment.”
The newly elected county council ward-holder for Burgh and Wainfleet has denied making the posts, claiming his account was hacked in a ‘concerted’ and ‘malicious’ attack on him and his party.
“I will be looking closely at everything to clear my name,” he said on Monday.
However Colin Cortbus, the freelance journalist whose research formed the Sunday Mirror’s ‘racist rant’ story, claims the hacking defence is ‘extremely improbable’.
“He has a prolific habit of xenophobic/racist/far-right posting, posting or sharing offensive content on multiple occasions,” he said.
“Hacking might explain a one off out-of-character post - it cannot really explain such an obsession with hate-posting.
“The idea that Mr Pain would not notice account hacking over years defies belief.
“I challenge him to produce IP address evidence of hacking, or evidence that he reported the hacking to police back then, as hacking is a criminal offence under the Computer Misuse Act 1990.”
Mr Cortbus has compiled a list of posts, allegedly made by Coun Pain over several months, which he believes are offensive and inappropriate.
The posts link immigrants with terrorists, calls on them to ‘go home’ and claim to have been ‘too harsh’ for the English Defence League.
Mr Farage said: “That behaviour is over the top and in that particular case we will have a hearing about that individual at our next national executive meeting in two weeks’ time.”
Even if UKIP did eject Coun Pain from the party, his future as a Lincolnshire County Council member could continue.
David O’Connor, executive director for performance and governance, said: “Whilst councillors are elected representatives and not employees of the council, they are subject to criminal law in cases of serious misconduct.
“For other cases, councils are required to adopt a code of conduct and all councillors are expected to comply with its principles.
“The code only applies when someone is acting as a representative of the authority and would not normally apply in a councillor’s private life.”