The anti-Euro British political party UKIP have become a controversial success story in British politics recently, making steady gains in popularity — often at the expense of the more dominant right wing party the Conservatives.
However, to their detractors the group's anti-EU drive comes not from economic sensibility but from nationalism, xenophobia, and even outright racism.
Case in point: this week 22-year-old UKIP candidate Alex Wood was suspended after a Facebook photo that appeared to show him making a "Nazi salute" was published by left wing tabloid the Daily Mirror.
The newspaper also published another image from Facebook that showed Wood standing in front of a Union Jack with a knife in his teeth, and reported that racist comments from Wood's account appeared beneath the photos.
He also claimed that the second image was a "Halloween prank" and that his Facebook page had been hacked by someone who had made racist comments.
"Racist, homophobic, fascist views absolutely disgust me," Wood told the BBC. "I'm completely against such views so these statements are not mine."
Woods was a relatively low-level candidate for Ukip, but the national attention he's brought to the party is no-doubt embarrassing.
Ukip's leader Nigel Farage, however, appears to have sympathy for Wood's explanation. In a blog post for the Huffington Post today, he wrote "I nearly had kittens when I first saw this."
"I've looked carefully into this and spoken to Alex, and I believe him when he says that he was angrily trying to take a camera off his girlfriend who was annoyingly taking pictures of him in the pub imitating a pot plant," Farage writes.
"These things happen," he added. "I should know!"
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