A UKIP candidate standing for a seat in the upcoming Tamworth Borough Council elections has been branded “racist” and “homophobic” this week in relation to controversial comments made on social media sites.
Robert Bilcliff is standing for a seat in Castle ward in the local elections being held in Tamworth on May 22.
Mr Bilcliff’s comments on Facebook and Twitter, which include the statement “Sad day for all us straight people” tweeted on March 29 – the same day that gay marriage was legalised in the UK – have sparked outrage among members of the public.
In a Facebook post written in July 2012, the UKIP candidate also wrote: “Just put a deposit down on a new Porshe and mentioned it on Facebook. I said “I can’t wait for the new 911”. I now have 4000 Muslims who have requested being a friend.”
Such statements have seen Mr Bilcliff labelled “racist” and “homophobic” in recent days and have prompted a probe by the UK Independence Party.
A spokesperson for the party told the Herald that the matter was being dealt with “seriously”.
“The matter has been referred to the party’s national executive who will look in to the matter seriously in view of considering taking potential disciplinary action,” said the spokesperson.
Speaking to a national newspaper in response to the offence taken to his comments, Mr Bilcliff denied that he is racist, saying that he has friends “of different nationalities” but added that he liked to have a “joke every now and again”.
The Herald contacted Mr Bilcliff for a comment in response to the statements made on Facebook and Twitter, but he declined to make one.
“As you know it’s gone to the UKIP National Executive, so it’s going to be no comment,” he said.
Mr Bilcliff is standing for a seat in Castle ward against Simon Johnson for the Green Party, Manjinder Singh Kang, from the Labour party, and Allan Lunn, from the Conservative Party, who is defending his seat.
The local elections will see four other political parties in addition to UKIP compete for seats in Tamworth’s ten wards.
The borough elections will once again be held at The Rawlett School in three weeks.