Ukip MEPs have hit out at Nigel Farage for being a Donald Trump “apologist” after the presidential candidate’s comments about women.
Many in the party felt “distaste” when the interim leader dismissed the Republican’s remarks about groping women as “alpha male boasting”.
Usually loyal MEPs William Dartmouth and Jane Collins said they wanted to “disassociate” themselves from Mr Farage’s comments.
Mr Dartmouth, who represents the south west, said: “I am a supporter, even, on occasion, an admirer of Nigel. But this goes too far. What message does it send to us in the UK for Nigel to be an apologist for Mr Trump?”
He said: “Many of my Ukip MEP colleagues share my deep distaste for the way that Nigel has attempted to pass off Mr Trump’s disgraceful comments as somehow normal.”
It is understood the Mr Farage’s defence of Mr Trump was discussed by MEPs at a meeting in Brussels and many were furious with the leader.
Ms Collins, who represents Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, said: “While in the past, I have been one of Nigel Farage’s biggest supporters, his attempts to not only excuse Trump’s vile behaviour but also to make this kind of criminal behaviour seem normative, make me seriously question his judgment in this matter.”
She added: “I have spent years fighting for more protections from sexual assault of all types. It, therefore, sickens me that my party leader seeks to say this was nothing more than ‘locker room banter’.”
In America, Academy award-winning actor Tom Hanks said he is “offended as a man” by Mr Trump’s remarks about women.
Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton has pressed Republicans to take a stand on Donald Trump after his comments about women prompted party leaders to abandon him. The Democratic candidate’s campaign manager, John Podesta, said even those Republicans who have revoked their support for Mr Trump following revelation of his sexually aggressive comments have “propped him up for a very long time”. One such Republican, Senator Deb Fischer, of Nebraska, reversed herself and said she will support Mr Trump after all.
Mr Trump told Fox News he is “tired of non-support” from Republican leaders and “I wouldn’t want to be in a foxhole with a lot of these people”. He said of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who told Republicans on Monday he will no longer campaign for Mr Trump: “I don’t want his support.”