UKIP’s Patrick O’Flynn: Candidate who ranted about poofters is not ‘seriously homophobic’

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UKIP MEP Patrick O’Flynn has claimed that candidate Kerry Smith, who was caught on tape making a string of anti-gay comments, is not “seriously homophobic”.

A recording released by the Mail on Sunday caught Mr Smith – who is standing for the party in South Basildon and East Thurrock – ranting about “poofters”.

He said: “Olly Neville – the sun shines out of his rear end. He’s now setting up BLT UKIP on Facebook.

“What the old poofter groups call themselves. I just call it a BLT like the sandwiches. It’s them letters BLT with a Q on the end, bacon, lettuce and tomato.

“It’s got our logo done with a rainbow. F**king loopy. That’s been approved by the NEC. That’s f**king disgusting.”

Mr O’Flynn, who represents the party in the East of England and serves as Director of Comms, appeared on Sunday Politics to defend the candidate.

He confirmed that Mr Smith had not been removed as a candidate, adding: “This was a phone call some time ago while he was on sedatives, and by his own account not speaking and thinking rationally.

“If Kerry Smith was seriously homophobic, he would clearly not have been backing David Coburn, who is gay, over Steven Woolfe, who is not, in another aspect of the story.

“He needs to learn to express himself more respectfully now he’s off the prescription drugs and now he’s our candidate.

“Clearly what he’s said there is unacceptable, he’s apologised unreservedly. There are big mitigating circumstances, it’s from some time ago, and we’re willing to judge him on his performance going forward from now.”

Mr O’Flynn dodged a question when asked whether the party had known about the existence of the tape before it leaked this week.

Watch the clip below: