Ukip candidate Alex Wood was due to stand in the upcoming Blackmore Vale local elections
Ukip candidate Alex Wood was due to stand in the upcoming Blackmore Vale local elections

UPDATE (27 January 2016):

Somerset Police have confirmed that Alex Wood has been cleared of misconduct and that he had been the victim of a smear campaign.

"In April and May 2013, the Daily Mirror published allegations that Alex Wood had been photographed making a 'Nazi salute' and had made racist comments on Facebook. On 7 August 2015, the Daily Mirror published an apology to Mr Woods for the distress they had caused and accepted the allegations were untrue."

The original article appears below:

A Ukip candidate from Somerset has been suspended from the party after photos emerged of him allegedly giving a Nazi salute on Facebook.

Alex Wood, 22, was due to represent Ukip in the upcoming local elections in Blackmore Vale, Somerset. The photographs which appeared online were also posted along with racist comments.

A second picture shows the 22-year-old posing with a knife in between his teeth in front of a Union flag. Wood claims the photos were taken out of context and his Facebook account had been "hijacked".

Wood has said he told the police about the alleged hacking of his account. Ukip has now confirmed his candidacy has been "suspended pending the police investigation".

In one comment about African people made under Wood's name, it read: "If I'm completely honest mate, they disgust me. I mean just look at the mud huts they live in and how they all kill each other. It's quite barbaric.

"This is what UKIP wants to prevent - our country ending up like Africa or some third world trash can."

He also says the photo of the alleged Nazi salute is in fact him at a Christmas party "trying to eat from a tree".

Ukip's leader Nigel Farage admitted to BBC Radio 4's Today programme that the photo of Woods "doesn't look very pretty".

Wood is the latest Ukip candidate to provoke controversy ahead of the upcoming local elections. Chris Scotton, candidate in Leicester, was suspended after it emerged he backed a series of online groups with racist views.

Anne-Marie Crampton, a Ukip candidate for East Sussex, was also suspended after she allegedly made a series of anti-Semtic comments online. The 35-year-old also claimed her Facebook account was hacked.

Ukip has also recently suspended a number of candidates after they were found to have been former members of the BNP.

The latest suspension at the Ukip party follows from comments made Tory cabinet minister Ken Clarke, who labelled Ukip politicians "collection of clowns" and its voters "fruitcakes and loonies".

Farage quickly condemned the comments by Clarke, adding: "There is nothing in Ukip that is racist in any way at all and Ken Clarke knows it."

Blackmore Vale candidate becomes latest member to be suspended ahead of local elections