UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said he intends to “professionalise” his party following a number of “extremist, barmy” and “nasty” views expressed by councillors.

The UKIP leader said in an interview with the Times that the party would change its processes for selecting candidates to put forward for next year’s election following a number of embarrassing recent events.

He referred to those who caused embarrassments as “Walter Mittys”, comparing them to the lead character in James Thurber’s short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty”, which was recently turned into a film starring Ben Stiller.

Mr Farage insisted that out of 1,818 “candidates we fielded, only about half a dozen have caused us any embarrassment.”

He said that it was ”very natural that a newish party will attract all sorts of people,” and admitted that the party had encountered a “struggle with talent”.

Last week, UKIP Councillor David Silvester claimed that the floods to have hit the UK in December and January were caused by same-sex marriage, and that homosexuality can be cured by Christian prayer.

Mr Silvester also claimed in an interview defending his views that more children have been “murdered” as a result of abortion laws than the number of Jews killed in by the Nazis during the Holocaust.

A Facebook campaign to get ‘It’s Raining Men’ to number one in the official UK chart following the comments be successful as the song looks set to re-enter the Top 20.

Mr Farage responded by presenting a spoof weather forecast mocking “fruitcakes” and “extremists” in other political parties on the Sunday Politics.

The party leader has now insisted that UKIP will become “a disciplined election machine”, and said those with extreme views must ditch them to follow party policy.

On increased screening of members, Mr Farage said it is ”not just about the odd barmy opinion – it’s really to try and work out whether these are reliable, steady, solid people.”