UK Politics

Nigel Farage wants no more 'UKIP Walter Mittys'

Ben Stiller as Walter Mitty Image copyright AP
Image caption The fictional Walter Mitty character is a hapless fantasist

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has criticised some in his ranks as "Walter Mittys" who have let the party down.

He called on activists to be more disciplined in the run-up to elections later this year.

In an interview with The Times, Mr Farage accepted UKIP had struggled to attract "talent" in its early days.

But while he said he wanted to "professionalise" the party, he insisted he did not want to "turn this thing into a new Labour outfit".

"I need us to have a disciplined election machine," he said, but not one "where they've all got pagers on their belts and they're told what to say and think".

'Solid people'

Commentators have predicted success for UKIP in the forthcoming European elections, but the views of some of its outspoken members have caused a headache for the party's leader.

UKIP Oxfordshire councillor David Silvester was suspended recently after he said in an interview that changing the law to allow gay people to marry had caused floods.

And last autumn, MEP Godfrey Bloom embarrassed the party when he used the phrase "bongo bongo land" and joked that some female activists were "sluts".

Mr Farage said UKIP had not always managed to screen out "Walter Mittys seeking a role in politics which, in the end they will let down not just us but themselves with".

In future there would be new day-long assessments for potential candidates, he said, adding this was "not just about the odd barmy opinion - it's really to try and work out whether these people are reliable, steady, solid people."

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