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Britain's UKIP suspends candidate over shooting threat

Update: May, 06/2015 - 12:34

LONDON — Britain's anti-EU, anti-immigration UK Independence Party has suspended a parliamentary candidate two days from a general election for apparently threatening to shoot a rival.

Robert Blay, a candidate for North East Hampshire in southern England, was filmed by the Daily Mirror newspaper insulting Conservative rival Ranil Jayawardena and calling him not British enough.

In the video, Blay remarked that Jayawardena had been tipped to be Britain's first Asian prime minister.

"If he is I will personally put a bullet between his eyes," Blay said in the footage on Tuesday.

"If this lad turns up to be our prime minister I will personally put a bullet in him. That's how strong I feel about it... I won't have this fucker as our prime minister. I absolutely loathe him." A UKIP spokesman described Blay's comments as "abhorrent" and said he had been immediately suspended from the party.

The party, which campaigns for Britain to leave the EU, has fought to shake accusations of racism after several prominent members and candidates were caught up in scandals over their views.

Jayawardena, whose father emigrated to Britain from Sri Lanka, is expected to win the constituency for the Conservative party of Prime Minister David Cameron.

In the footage, Blay said Jayawardena's family had arrived in the country too recently and described him as "not British enough to be in our parliament." Referring to the Conservative party colour of blue, Blay said "I've always said in my constituency you could put a monkey out there with a blue rosette on and it would win." UKIP said that Blay had been suspended from the party as soon as the video was brought to their attention.

"Any comments of this sort have absolutely no place in British politics or public life, and the party would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mr Jayawardena for any distressed caused," a spokesman said.

UKIP, a once-fringe party that campaigns to reduce immigration and end Britain's membership of the European Union, has surged in popularity in recent years.

It currently has 14 per cent support according to a BBC poll of polls, and is predicted to win a handful of seats in Britain's knife-edge general election on Thursday.

No party is predicted to win a majority in the vote, and UKIP has said it could support a government that will hold a referendum on whether Britain should leave the EU – something Cameron has promised if he is re-elected as prime minister. — AFP

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