May 5, 2015 / 7:19 PM / in 3 years

Britain's UKIP suspends candidate for threatening to shoot rival

LONDON (Reuters) - The anti-European Union UK Independence Party suspended one of its parliamentary candidates on Tuesday, two days before Britain’s national election, for threatening to “put a bullet” in his Conservative rival.

The Daily Mirror said Robert Blay, a UKIP candidate in the southern county of Hampshire, made the comment to an investigative reporter while discussing the possibility his local Conservative opponent, Ranil Jayawardena, could one day become Britain’s first prime minister of Asian origin.

“If this lad turns up to be our prime minister, I will personally put a bullet in him. That’s how strong I feel about it,” said Blay, whose comments were caught on video.

A UKIP spokesman said: “The views expressed by Mr Blay are abhorrent. As soon as they were brought to our attention he was suspended from the party.”

Blay, the latest in a line of UKIP politicians to be disciplined for racist or sexist comments, said he “absolutely loathed” Jayawardena, whom he described with an obscene epithet, and added was “not British enough to be in our parliament”.

UKIP denies racism, and previous controversies appear to have done little to dent its support, which is consistently running at more than 10 percent in opinion polls.

The party, which wants Britain to leave the European Union and introduce an Australian-style points-based qualification system for new immigrants, is expected to win no more than a handful of seats under Britain’s first-past-the-post voting system.

But with polls predicting no single party will win a majority, it has said it might enter an informal arrangement to support a government committed to delivering a referendum on Britain’s EU membership, as Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives are promising.

Reporting by Mark Trevelyan; editing by John Stonestreet

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