Call to deselect Carl Benjamin as UKIP MEP candidate over rape comments

Gerard Batten

Image caption

UKIP’s leader Gerrard Batten, pictured, said Carl Benjamin’s comments were made in satire

Calls have been made to deselect a candidate in the European election following comments he made about rape on social media in 2016.

Carl Benjamin wants to stand to become an MEP for the South West for UKIP.

But members of UKIP’s Swindon branch said Mr Benjamin had only joined the local party recently and added he should be deselected ahead of the poll on 23 May.

Mr Benjamin is yet to respond for a request to comment to the BBC.

His use of Twitter in 2016 hit the headlines when he responded to Labour MP Jess Phillips’ concerns over threats of sexual assault by saying: “I wouldn’t even rape you…. feminism is cancer.”

‘Army of feminists’

The party’s Swindon branch chairman Aubrey Attwater told the BBC he wanted to see Mr Benjamin deselected as an MEP candidate.

“UKIP Swindon wants absolutely nothing to do with Carl Benjamin or his websites,” he said.

“His appearance is not doing UKIP any favours.”

Speaking at the weekend, UKIP’s leader Gerrard Batten said Mr Benjamin’s comments were made in satire.

“He is a proponent of free speech. The context that he said it was satire against the people he was saying it about. He was not actually making a literal statement,” Mr Batten said.

Ms Phillips, the Labour MP for Birmingham Yardley, has spoken out on behalf of rape and domestic violence victims in Parliament.

She said it was right for the UKIP leader to have been challenged on the issue, adding she was considering getting an “army of feminists” to campaign in the area Mr Benjamin was standing.

Nominations for the European elections close on 24 April and a full list of candidates for the South West will appear on the BBC website.

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