Calls have been made for a Conservative candidate to step down after she branded UKIP voters “racists”. Flick Drummond, who is standing for the seat of Portsmouth South, made the comments during a hustings at Portsmouth University.
According to the Portsmouth News, her remarks came during a discussion over whether teenagers are disillusioned and not fitting in because UKIP are anti-immigration and spreading “anti-racial slurs”.
The UKIP candidate Steve Harris insisted that his party is not racist, saying that UKIP’s policies on limiting immigration are a question of “space, not race”. But Ms Drummond retorted: “Steve, you might not be racist, but the people voting for you are, because I meet them every day on the doorstep.
She added: “I am afraid that is the case. I know you might not be racist, but it’s certainly happening on the doorstep.”
Local UKIP representatitves have accused Ms Drummond herself of racism, and have called for her resignation as a candidate. Cllr Stuart Potter, UKIP’s Portsmouth North committee chairman, said: “By those remarks she herself is a racist. Flick Drummond should resign and produce a written apology to Ukip.”
And John Bowles, Fareham and Gosport Ukip chairman, said: “I am gobsmacked. To insinuate a large proportion of the people of the Portsmouth area are racist is an absolute outrage. I am outraged as I thought that in this enlightened day and age we had put the racism card down. This sort of behaviour is totally out of place.”
UKIP’s leader Nigel Farage said that the comments were “stupid”, and called on Tory voters who thought the same way as Ukip to lend his party their support, saying “I think it’s an incredibly stupid thing to have said. If she believes that what UKIP stands for is racist then she ought to encourage all Conservative voters who subscribe to UKIP’s views to vote for us.”
But Ms Drummond has stood by her claim, telling the News that she has met people on the doorstep who displayed “appalling” racist behaviour. She insisted that she should have given her remarks some context, as she had not meant to slur all UKIP voters as racists, but added that she had met one woman who told her that Muslims were “breeding like rabbits.”
“I find that absolutely disgraceful. It’s the most racist comment I have ever heard,” Ms Drummond said.
Her comments have prompted some Conservative voters to re-examine their support for Ms Drummond’s party. Twitter user Sean Mallis tweeted “I was considering voting #Conservative but after Flick Drummond called #UKIP supporters racist, she can quite frankly get lost.”