Ukip suspends election candidate Jack Sen over racially charged comments

Ukip Bus 3

Ukip has suspended another of its parliamentary candidates a week before the general election after he made a series of racially charged comments.

Jack Sen, who was to stand for the party in West Lancashire, said that minorities in South Africa were being ethnically cleansed.

And he laid the blame for a “genocide” in western Europe at the door of the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, and other prominent Jewish figures across the world. He also included Labour’s Emily Thornberry, who is not Jewish.

Sen made the comments in an interview with the far-right South African website the European Knights Project (EKP) published on 12 April. He said on Friday that he stood by them.

Separately, antisemitic comments about Labour’s candidate for Liverpool Wavertree, Luciana Berger, were posted on his Twitter account on Thursday.

Echoing language often used by antisemitic groups, Sen linked Miliband to a “shadowy elite bent on [the west’s] destruction” and said that his father, Ralph Miliband, who arrived in the UK after fleeing Nazi persecution of Jews, “did his utmost to destroy his host nation”.

The comments on Twitter accused Berger of having “divided loyalties” – a common antisemitic slur meant to suggest that Jews are loyal to Israel, rather than to the country in which they live.

Berger said that those comments were clearly antisemitic. She said: “Remarks like these have no place in our politics. I am glad that Ukip has taken action.”

Speaking to the Guardian on Friday, Sen said that they had been tweeted by a party activist, not by him. But he failed to provide any further details.

Referring to his EKP interview, Sen said that he was neither aware that the people he had attacked were Jewish, nor that his comments about them echoed well-known antisemitic jibes.

The apparent implication that there was a group of Jewish people across the world that was culpable was accidental, he said. He said the link he was trying to draw between the people he mentioned was not their Judaism, but what he saw as their shared political views.

In the EKP interview, Sen said: “The minority South African, and Afrikaner in particular, is an endangered species in my estimation. It is being systemically hunted into extinction by a people we were told wanted to live in democratic harmony back in 1994.

“Remember the rainbow nation propaganda campaign? Hard to reach that lofty ideal when people are being gunned down for sport from Joburg to Capetown. It’s still hunting season from what I can see.”

He also said that there was a “common thread” that bound two prominent Jewish figures in South Africa and Miliband. “Your audience will have to decide what that is,” he told the website.

A series of tweets were directed at Berger from his account. One read: “If you had it your way you’d send the £ to Poland/Israel.”

Berger was accused of having “divided loyalties” and one of the tweets read: “Britain’s youngest Jewish MP, Luciana Berger, is facing criticism over her record of … loyalties”.

The Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, apologised for the comments attributed to Sen and those posted on his Twitter account. He told ITV News: “We’ve got over 5,000 people standing for us at this election, and less than a handful have caused us a problem.

“Ukip is a non-sectarian, non-racist party and we’ve actually got a remarkable number of people standing for us from every single walk of life, from every religion and every ethnic group in this country.”

In a statement, the party said: “Jack Sen, a Ukip candidate, has expressed views that in no way reflect the views of the party and any other of our hard-working dedicated candidates.

“In the light of these and other comments, Mr Sen has been suspended from Ukip with immediate effect.”

A party source indicated that he would have two weeks to appeal against the suspension and would be expelled from the party either at that point or if his appeal failed.

Sen said he felt he had been let down by the party, which he said had offered him no support over these allegations, nor over earlier claims that he had received death threats.

He told the Guardian that he had found out about his suspension from the media and that no one from Ukip had called him.

The news of his suspension comes after Janice Atkinson, one of the leading figures in the party and a parliamentary candidate, was expelled from Ukip over fake expenses claims.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Kevin Rawlinson, for theguardian.com on Friday 1st May 2015 23.59 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010