The two activists were filmed by Channel 4 News during campaigning in Hartlepool where the populist anti-immigration party led by Nigel Farage is focusing its general election campaigning efforts with chairman Richard Tice standing in the constituency.
Councillor David Mincher complained Muslims were “outbreeding us” and “live like animals”, and boasted he once tried to bury a pig’s head under a mosque that was being built in the town.
He was also shown making a series of derogatory remarks about Pakistanis, Somalis and Turks.
Mincher later told the programme he made up the story about burying a pig’s head “as a stupid act of showing off to your reporter”.
Gordon Parkin, who was said to be the party’s assistant manager for the North East region, was also shown complaining Muslims were “outbreeding us”.
Asked why there were comparatively few immigrants in the town, he replied, he said it was because people “won’t have them” and that they “persecute the bastards”.
In a statement, Tice said the party took immediate action when they became aware of the “appalling” comments, withdrawing the whip from Mincher and dismissing Parkin.
“Both I and the Brexit Party totally condemn the hideous remarks in question in the strongest possible terms,” he said.
“I would take the gravest exception to any attempt by Channel 4 to suggest that I or the Brexit Party in any way share, condone or was aware of these views and matters.”
He said the undercover reporters may have breached electoral law and accused Channel 4 of being prepared to go to the “most extreme lengths” to discredit Brexit and its backers.
A Channel 4 News spokeswoman said: “We stand by our journalism.”
The punch that wasn’t
In other UK media news, several senior broadcast journalists were strongly criticised online after appearing to tweet a Conservative spin line, without checking the facts of the situation.
After a story broke in local news at the weekend of a four-year-old child having to receive medical treatment while lying on a pile of coats because there were no beds available at the hospital in the northern town of Leeds, Health Secretary Matt Hancock was sent to the hospital days in advance of the polls opening.
BBC News Political Editor Laura Kuenssberg and ITV Political Editor Robert Peston, who each have more than a million Twitter followers, posted that one of Hancock’s aides had been assaulted – “whacked in the face” in Peston’s words – by a Labour activist protesting outside the hospital amid “nasty” scenes.
Have video from Hancock leaving Leeds General just come through so you can see for yourself – doesn’t look like punch thrown, rather, one of Tory team walks into protestor’s arm, pretty grim encounter pic.twitter.com/hD1KwA72gG
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) December 9, 2019
When video emerged that the aide in question had softly walked into a protester’s hand with no evidence of any “assault” in an entirely innocuous incident, both Peston and Kuenssberg walked back their tweets.
Peston tweeted: “It is completely clear from video footage that @MattHancock‘s adviser was not whacked by a protestor, as I was told by senior Tories, but that he inadvertently walked into a protestor’s hand. I apologise for getting this wrong.”
The spreading of the false story by two of the UK’s highest-profile journalists raised questions about media ethics and reporters uncritically pushing out anonymous briefings sent to them by government sources.
“Johnson and the Tories lie and they cheat to manipulate the media. A sick child treated on the floor of a hospital and they try divert attention with a dead cat lie story. Never has our politics sunk so low in our country since Johnson took over,” tweeted John McDonnell, finance spokesperson for the opposition Labour Party.