Party bosses claim opponents are targetting a Lincolnshire UKIP councillor after she was accused as being a former member and supporter of the National Front in a national newspaper – an allegation she flatly denies.
Coun Victoria Ayling, who represents the Sppilsby Fen ward on the county council and lives in Stickford, featured in the Mail on Sunday for the second week running.
This week the paper claimed she used to have ties with the National Front and made allegations about her ex-husband, who the piece claims is a transvestite.
A party spokesman said the National Front suggestion is ‘categorically untrue’ and states that Coun Ayling did carry out some research into extremist and fringe parties as part of her law degree.
UKIP also points out that Coun Ayling was also vetted by the Conservative Party before joining their party.
The spokesman said: “Alongside her tested provenance as a highly successful Conservative councillor and candidate, Ms Ayling also signed a binding declaration with UKIP on defection assuring the party that she has never been a member of an extremist or far right organization as condition of her party membership and has undergone the party’s internal assessment process.
“As an extremely popular local politician both during her time with the Conservatives and currently as a UKIP County Councillor it would appear these attacks are being made to destabilise a successful political career since her defection from the Conservatives.
“There has never been an attempt to keep a piece of academic research a secret and the Conservative Party were well aware of this throughout her time as a member, councillor and PPC. For it to be an issue now would imply that this is only because she is now a highly popular councillor for UKIP and thus the entire story is politically motivated.”
Coun Ayling came within 800 votes of winning the Grimsby parliamentary seat for the Tories in the 2010 General Election.
UKIP states Coun Ayling attended meetings of extremist groups ‘from both sides of the political spectrum’ as part of a thesis at Southampton University into whether extremist groups and parties should be banned.
A spokesman said that, after feeling threatened at such meetings, she changed the subject of her thesis.
It is understood that Coun Ayling intends to take legal action against the Mail on Sunday. The paper last week featured her on the front page under the headline ‘Send The Al Back Home’ in relation to a campaign video she was shooting for the Conservative party.
She says that in the video she was expressing her view that anyone in the country illegally should be deported. She blamed her ‘scorned’ ex husband, who filmed the video,
In relation to the National Front allegations a UKIP spokesman said: “Ms Ayling and UKIP will not accept any media outlet or publication publishing these defamatory allegations made by someone who has made no secret of their desire to damage Ms Ayling politically.”