Former UKIP MEP Nikki Sinclaire says her decision to come out publicly as transgender was because of threats from journalists and her ex-colleagues in UKIP.

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live, she said: “One of the reasons I’ve had to reveal this was threats from journalists and UKIP.

“They threatened to expose this and this is why I felt the need. Because people asked: ‘Why are you saying this now?’

“Basically, I wanted to put my side of it before someone else put a distorted side out.”

Ms Sinclaire came out publicly as transgender in last weekend’s Sun on Sunday, which also ran extracts of her new autobiography.

Earlier in the week, the MEP had warmer words for her former party when it came to tolerance.

On Tuesday, she told The Sun: “I was accepted as a lesbian in UKIP. By contrast, some of the worst homophobia I’ve seen in politics has come from the Liberal Democrats.”

In 2010, the then UK Independence Party MEP Godfrey Bloom was accused by Ms Sinclaire of abusively calling her “queer”. UKIP and Mr Bloom denied the claims. It was alleged Mr Bloom made the slur in a hallway in the European Parliament building in Strasbourg.

Ms Sinclaire subsequently left the UK Independence Party having refused to sit with the Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD) group in which UKIP is part of in the European Parliament.

The MEP stated her displeasure at what she claimed to be some of the racist, extremist parties that belong to the EFD group.

She successfully sued UKIP on allegations of sexual discrimination in December 2010.

UKIP did not lodge a defence; therefore the ruling went against the party by default.

On Friday UKIP said Ms Sinclaire’s new claims against them were unfounded. UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he had not spoken to Ms Sinclaire for years and was “unaware of any threats to her”.