Nigel Farage promised that Ukip would mount a positive and clean general election campaign, only to call Rotherham’s Labour MP a “disgraceful woman” after she accused him of rubber-necking at child abuse victims.
The Ukip leader said negative campaigning did not work: “We have quite deliberately got some positive messages coming up in this election campaign.”
Sarah Champion said Farage’s visit to Rotherham, to open the campaign office of the party’s candidate Jane Collins, amounted to rubber-necking. The town has been rocked by child abuse allegations that prompted several councillors to resign this week.
Anti-Ukip protesters trapped the politician in the office, which he described as “hilarious”. He also posted this tweet:
Ukip has 10 councillors in Rotherham and it is one of the party’s main target seats in the north in May’s elections.
The Sun meanwhile came out against Ukip in an editorial on Saturday.
The paper blames the party’s rise for the possibility that Britain could be governed by a Labour/Scottish National party coalition after the general election.
Andrew Neil, the former Sunday Times editor, tweeted that the editorial could be aimed at dissuading Rupert Murdoch from telling the paper to back Ukip in the campaign.
The party has also come under fire for a now-deleted tweet from the Plymouth branch which said: “South Yorkshire police says PC Hassan Ali who was under investigation in relation to child abuse in Rotherham has died in a car crash KARMA!”
Ali, 44, died in hospital on Friday, nine days after being struck by a car in Sheffield.
A spokesman for Ukip said the person who sent the tweet had been “disciplined”.
The @plymouthukip account has been deleted.
This article was written by Chris Johnston, for theguardian.com on Saturday 7th February 2015 17.35 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010