UK Politics

Controversial candidates: How did they do?

Hardly a day went by in the recent election campaign without some candidate or other in the headlines for controversial comments. Did voters care? Here's what happened:

Lutfur Rahman - Independent Tower Hamlets First

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Media captionLutfur Rahman was greeted by supporters in Stepney

CONTROVERSY: There were allegations of governance failure, poor financial management against Tower Hamlets' Bangladeshi mayor Lutfur Rahman.

In March, the BBC's Panorama alleged Mr Rahman had more than doubled funding recommended by officers for Bengali-run charities.

Mr Rahman, a former Labour leader of Tower Hamlets, in east London, categorically denied claims from opposition councillors that the grants were made in return for electoral support.

The Metropolitan Police was handed three files of material but said they contained "no new credible evidence of criminality".

An investigation has since been ordered by Communities Secretary Eric Pickles regarding the allegations.

VOTERS' VERDICT: Mr Rahman was re-elected as Tower Hamlets mayor with 43.38% of first preference votes, On Saturday, he was greeted by about 2,000 supporters as he celebrated.

Winston McKenzie - UKIP

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Media captionUKIP candidate for Croydon Council Winston McKenzie says Nigel Farage would not feel safe if he paid a visit

CONTROVERSY: Former boxer Winston McKenzie described Croydon - part of which he wanted to represent on the local council - as a "dump".

The UKIP candidate made the comments following a row with demonstrators at a carnival organised by his party just days before the election.

A steel band drafted in for the event in south London refused to continue playing when told they had been hired on behalf of UKIP.

Instead, the band began to play as protesters gathered, with one woman holding a banner accusing UKIP of "racism".

Explaining why UKIP leader Nigel Farage would not attend the carnival, Mr McKenzie said: "He's a responsible family man and political party leader. Certain situations you have to avoid."

He added: "Croydon is unsafe and a dump."

VOTERS' VERDICT: Mr McKenzie failed to get elected in South Norwood.

Jonny Bucknell - Conservatives

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Image caption A file picture of a policeman demonstrating a Taser gun

CONTROVERSY: Tory councillor Jonny Bucknell courted his share of controversy last month when he called for police to use Tasers in extreme cases.

Mr Bucknell, who stood as a candidate in London's Camden, said he had become known as Jonny Taser.

The Camden New Journal reported the councillor's calls for all police to carry the weapon as a deterrent and for them to be permitted to zap people who were drunk, aggressive or considered to be "out of their tree".

VOTERS' VERDICT: Despite some criticism in the media, Mr Bucknell retained his Belsize seat.

Malcolm Pritchard - UKIP

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Image caption Malcolm Pritchard says his relationship with his daughter and political rival Claire is "null and void"

CONTROVERSY: UKIP candidate Malcolm Pritchard became locked in a bitter political family feud when he reported his own daughter for election fraud.

Claire Pritchard was suspended by the Labour Party and is being investigated by police over the complaint about postal voting.

Mr Pritchard had wanted to oust his daughter from her seat on Hyndburn Council in Lancashire, where she is deputy leader, after she beat him in elections last year.

VOTERS' VERDICT: Mr Pritchard won the seat in Milnshaw and declared that his relationship with his daughter was "null and void". He insisted he had taken "absolutely no joy" from winning the bitter fight.

Matthew Ellery - Independent

CONTROVERSY: Former UKIP candidate Matthew Ellery wrote on Facebook that he "really felt like stabbing someone" and described women in his town as "pug ugly".

The 22-year-old was suspended from the party and forced to stand as an independent, although he still appeared on the ballot paper for Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council as a UKIP candidate.

He took to Twitter to defend himself, saying he did not hate women but "simply stated a fair few ugly people about not all women".

Mr Ellery, the son of the UKIP group leader on the council, Alan Stone, failed to attend the count and later tweeted "he had to be up early for work".

VOTERS' VERDICT: Mr Ellery won his seat. After the result, UKIP deputy chairman Neil Hamilton, who himself lost, joked on BBC Radio Berkshire that perhaps some women "like people talking dirty to them".

Heino Vockrodt - UKIP

CONTROVERSY: UKIP became tangled up in another race row after one of its north London candidates described Islam as a "totalitarian ideology".

Heino Vockrodt said the religion was "against everything modern Britain stands for".

The comments were made in an email apparently sent last year to Brent Council, on which he was hoping to sit.

He had been complaining about an alleged planning breach by "the Afghan community".

He said parts of the borough resembled Afghanistan's Helmand province. He alleged that political correctness prevented the council doing anything about it "for fear of being called racists, when, just like in all the other cases where Muslims are grooming children to be sex slaves under the eyes of the authorities, the council does nothing".

UKIP was forced to respond, insisting it was a non-racist, non-sectarian party and that all candidates and members were expected to uphold these values.

VOTERS' VERDICT: Mr Vockrodt failed to win a seat on the local authority.

Andre Lampitt - Independent

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CONTROVERSY: Builder Andre Lampitt was one of the stars of UKIP's first party election broadcast of the local election campaign, wearing a hard hat and complaining that "since the lads from Eastern Europe" had arrived in the UK and undercut him, he had found it a "real struggle" to provide for his family.

He was suspended by the party shortly afterwards for sharing what UKIP sources described as "repellent" and "extreme racist views" on Twitter.

Among Mr Lampitt's reported comments were criticisms of Islam and Nigerians, and a suggestion that Labour leader Ed Miliband was Polish.

VOTERS' VERDICT: Mr Lampitt failed to be elected as a councillor in Merton, south London, coming fourth behind Labour candidates in the St Helier ward but ahead of three Conservatives and a Lib Dem.

European elections

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There was no shortage of controversy during the European election campaign - but it is more difficult to gauge the impact of comments by individual candidates because of the "closed list" voting system used in Great Britain, which has multi-member constituencies. Voters put their cross on the ballot paper next to a party rather than a candidate.

As we have seen, one party, UKIP, had more than its share of negative headlines in the run-up to polling day. Nigel Farage, the party's ubiquitous leader, even had to take out a full page ad in a national newspaper to hit back at accusations of racism, after what was widely reported as a "car crash" of an interview on LBC radio.

But the verdict of voters was resounding - they did not seem to care.

UKIP doubled its number of MEPs and topped the UK-wide poll with a vote share of 27.5% - an increase of 11% on 2009.

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