UKIP: 'No skeletons in my cupboard'

If you want evidence of how UKIP is trying to become more professional, look no further than the form potential candidates have to fill out, a copy of which I have obtained at the party's conference in Torquay.

Wannabe UKIP candidates have to declare the following:

"I never engaged in, advocated or condoned racist, violent, criminal or anti democratic activity.

"I have never been a member of or had links with any organisation, group or association which the national executive committee considers is liable to bring the party into disrepute.

"I have never been convicted of any offence punishable by a custodial sentence, whether or not a custodial sentence was actually imposed. I shall notify the Party Chairman and General Secretary immediately upon being interviewed under caution."

UKIP form

Later the form asks specifically: "Are you or have you ever been a member of the BNP, EDL or any other organisation that might be of public interest?"

And this is my favourite: "I do not have any 'skeletons in my cupboard' that may cause me or UKIP embarrassment if they were to come out during the election."

On one level this is sensible stuff; a party that has got its fingers burned before now vetting the people that could be representing UKIP very soon in local government or even Strasbourg.

But the nature of the questions is nonetheless revealing, reflecting the fears and concerns of a party that by its own admission is still growing up, trying to shed the less savoury past of some of its members.

James Landale Article written by James Landale James Landale Deputy political editor

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