Ex-UKIP candidate: There is a witch hunt against working class people who say ‘poofter’ and ‘chinky’
A former UKIP candidate who stepped down after being criticised for using the word “poofters” to describe gay people has said this week has proven that there is “a witch hunt against working class people,” who use such words.
Kerry Smith, who resigned from UKIP as a prospective parliamentary candidate for calling gay people “poofters”, and a Chinese woman a “Chinky bird”, later said his comments were no worse than the language in the BBC comedy series Only Fools and Horses.
Mr Smith stepped down as a candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock earlier this week after the Mail on Sunday reported leaked phone calls in which he referred to gay people as “poofters” and joked about the party’s LGBT membership group.
Speaking to Iain Dale on LBC, Smith said: “Hold on – it’s a turn of phrase. It’s how a word is used. Where I come from pepole dont speak with a plumb in their mouth – they tell it as it is and it’s not offensive. That’s the trouble I think with this country. We’ve all gotta be Eliza Doolittles if you come from a council estate.
Complaining that he had been “hounded all week”, he went on to say: “I’ve been called my by constituents who’ve said ‘what’s this all about?’. People have been on the phone to me and emailing me, and I don’t know what they’re on about. They don’t know me. They know I’m not prejudiced towards any group.
“That’s the problem with this country – we all look down on people if they’ve come from the streets.”
Dale asked him whether he thought using those words was wrong, given that he was a prospective Parliamentary candidate, to which he replied: “Well I’m not extreme but I’m not politically correct. I’ve protected UKIP after resigning my membership. I’m carrying on as an independent councillor as I’ve had my constituents contact me – ‘whatever you do, don’t go. We like you, you tell it how it is.’… we are in the PC age and if you stand for a political party you’re going to get ripped to pieces.
“Working class people have gotta do the Eliza Doolittle treatment if they want to run for a political party at Westminster. We’re trying to make the House of commons look like this country and if you’re working class you’ve got leprosy. You’ve gotta put a plumb in your mouth become something you are not – and I’ll tell you something. If it’s a case of me ditching my roots to go to Westminster – I will always be who I am, and I’m a cockney.
He got into a Spat with Dale who said he was also from Essex, from Saffron Walden. Smith responded: “There’s a big difference between that and Dagenham.”
Turning on Dale to describe his comprehensive education as “like Oxford” compared to his schooling, he said: “With respect you’ve got a lovely accent – sounds like you’ve got a far better education…”
When asked whether he though Nigel Farage, who earlier today defended Smith, would use such language, Smith responded: “I think Nigel Farage would rather talk about the issues at hand than the media going around having a witch hunt.”
“Lets get one thing crystal clear – everyone has the right to a private conversation on the telephone.
On who was on the other end of the recorded phone conversation, he said: “It was an employee of a UKIP MEP. This was March 2012 or February 2012 that conversation. That was a private conversation. I spoke to someone who is a snake in the grass – noone has heard what this person has said. You’ve only heard one side of the conversation.
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“You might say [I was stitched up], I could say something a bit more un-PC, but that would get me into more hot water wouldn’t it.”
On reports that he was on sedatives, for which he attributed the rant, Smith said: “I’ve got two slipped discs – I can’t afford to go to BUPA. That time I was prescribed cocodamol which is morphine based. It’s an opiate. It makes people as high as a kite. Some people say it makes you high as a kite.
“It’s a mixture of things. When you have a private phone call and a tough day, you do and say things you regret the following morning.”
Continuing, he said: “The person who leaked this tape has done unforgivable acts…. there is a witch hunt against working class people. We don’t speak PC, and we don’t use trendy modernistic language… I think I’m standing by my people.”
Nearning the end of the interview, he was asked whether he might consider going back into UKIP, to which he responded: “Never say never”.
However, because of “a couple of people” in the party, he said: “I’d rather jump in a bath full of battery acid than rejoin UKIP.”