Police have been alerted to the racism allegations made against UKIP’s Lincolnshire group leader.
The newly elected ward-holder for Burgh and Wainfleet Coun Chris Pain was reported by the Sunday Mirror to have made ‘racist rants’ over Facebook in which he called illegal immigrants ‘free-loading, benefit-grabbing, resource-sucking, baby-making non-English-speaking *******’.
Lincolnshire Police has confirmed it was aware of these allegations and is ‘information-gathering in the first instance’.
Coun Pain, UKIP’s East Midlands chairman, has denied making the posts, claiming his Facebook account was hacked as part of a ‘malicious’ attack against him and his party and has vowed to ‘look closely at everything’ to clear his name.
However, the police spokesperson was unaware of any complaint Coun Pain may have made over the hacking.
They also said that any investigation into the racism allegations would be ‘monumentally complex’.
“Any enquiry into alleged comments made in cyberspace and potential social media hacking is extremely complex, particularly when it may involve any historic Facebook or Twitter activity,” they said.
UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage described the comments as ‘over the top’ on BBC Radio Two’s Jeremy Vine Show on Tuesday.
The allegations will be discussed at the party’s next national executive meeting in two weeks’ time.
Lincolnshire County Council’s executive director for performance and governance David O’Connor has advised any complainants to raise their concerns with the police.
Although Mr O’Connor emphasised the county council’s ‘duties’ and responsibilities under the Equalities Act’ he said the authority would be unlikely to take action against Coun Pain due to the allegations relating to actions taken in his private capacity before he was a councillor.
“Copies of the relevant Facebook pages shown on national media indicate that the comments you complain of were made in 2012,” he said.
“This was before Coun Pain was elected to the county council. Because he was not a councillor at the time the statement was made the code of conduct would not apply.
“If it was a continuing statement and the code of conduct applied then there is no evidence that Coun Pain was acting as a councillor rather than in a private capacity.
“Because of the above it would not be appropriate for me to investigate whether Coun Pain actually made the comments attributed to him, which I understand he denies.”