Ukip man 'ashamed' of comments
A Ukip candidate has apologised for offensive comments about a well-known female journalist, saying he was "appalled and deeply ashamed" of the things he said.
John Leathley, who is standing for Nigel Farage's party in Tony Blair's old constituency of Sedgefield, in County Durham, is reported to have posted comments about the liberal newspaper columnist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.
The Facebook postings, which apparently followed an appearance last year by Ms Alibhai-Brown on BBC's Question Time, included statements that the commentator "needs a good shag" and said she would "would love a big black thing up her a***".
The journalist responded tonight saying the Durham University student's comments were "appalling".
In a statement, Mr Leathley said: "I would like to apologise unreservedly to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown.
"I read what I wrote now, I am shocked by them and am appalled and deeply ashamed of my words.
"The comments were made during a private conversation in the evening clearly were never meant to be publicly released, and they should never have been said.
"I am very sorry and regret deeply being so coarse, it is out of character but no more excusable for that."
Ms Alibhai-Brown told Mirror Online: "Was he drunk? If he wasn't, then what he said was absolutely appalling. It's sexist, it's racist, it's violent."
She said: "I've always said Ukip was the nasty party and we find out again and again with incidents like this."
Sedgefield was represented by Tony Blair between 1983 and 2007. He was succeeded by Labour's Phil Wilson who is contesting the seat again on Thursday.
Mr Wilson said tonight on Twitter: "Ukip should sack parliamentary candidate for #Sedgefield @JLeathleyUKIP His comments against women r obscene & disgusting."
The full list of candidates in Sedgefield is: Stephen Glenn (Lib Dems), John Leathley (Ukip), Greg Robinson (Green), Phil Wilson (Labour), Scott Wood (Conservative).