OFFENSIVE comments made on Facebook by a UKIP candidate fighting for a seat on Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council have resulted in him being suspended by the party.
Matthew Ellery, who will stand for a seat in the Brighton Hill South ward at the borough elections on May 22, posted on the social networking site on April 14: “Genuinely feel like stabbing someone today!!!”
In an earlier post on March 27, the 20-year-old accounting and taxation student, at Bournemouth University, made derogatory comments about women living in Basingstoke, calling them “pug ugly”.
Mr Ellery has more than 700 friends on Facebook and, because his profile is currently public, The Gazette was able to see the offensive comments posted.
Phil Heath, Mr Ellery’s election agent, told The Gazette that the student has now been suspended by the party.
However, it is too late for UKIP to remove Mr Ellery from the ballot paper ahead of the elections.
Mr Heath said: “We won’t be issuing any literature and his membership (with the party) has been suspended. If he is elected, he won’t sit with UKIP. We couldn’t take him off the ballot paper. He wanted to do things to help and, if he is elected, I am sure he will, but he will be an Independent (councillor).”
When The Gazette went to the house that Mr Ellery stated is his home, in Worting Road, in an attempt to speak to him about the offensive posts, a man, who claimed to be his brother, said that Mr Ellery did not live at that address.
Basingstoke UKIP leader Alan Stone told The Gazette that the student divides his time between Basingstoke and Bournemouth.
Mr Stone played down the remarks made by Mr Ellery, saying: “The story has been blown out of proportion. He had no intention of stabbing anyone. He is entirely upset about it.
“His comments were entirely inappropriate, but please bear in mind he is a student and the comments were what you would expect from a student.”
He continued: “As a lad, he is extremely intelligent.
“He works very hard, speaks incredibly well and has a good outlook in life. He is a normal lad, saying things that a lot of lads would say.”
But Councillor Laura James, leader of the borough’s Labour group, was outraged by the comments.
She said: “It is exceptionally serious. It is a man standing for public office and talking about wanting to stab somebody, and at the same time he used exceptionally derogatory language to talk about women. Is this someone we want to be representing people? I think it is clear that we don’t.”
Two seats are up for grabs in the Brighton Hill South ward following the resignation of Labour’s David Eyre last month.
Mr Ellery will be going head-to-head with Liberal Democrat Councillor John Barnes, who is hoping to be re-elected, fellow Liberal Democrat candidate Nicola Bensilum, Conservative candidates Nicholas Bates and Julia Pooley, Labour hopefuls Pamela Lonie and Daniel O’Loughlin, and UKIP candidate, Malik Azam.