UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been branded a “hypocrite” after he justified the party throwing out south Essex members.

Kerry Smith, who was ousted as Ukip parliamentary candidate for South Basildon and East Thurrock after making racist and homophobic comments, and Southend councillor James Moyies, who was suspended from the party after refusing to back the local candidate, have hit back after Mr Farage said Ukip had to get rid of them.

Speaking as he launched Ukip’s general election campaign on Canvey, Mr Farage said four Southend Ukip councillors who have refused to back Floyd Waterworth, the party’s parliamentary candidate for Rochford and Southend East, were not “team players”.

He said Ukip had to get rid of Mr Smith, who is now standing as an independent candidate for the seat, after his use of derogatory terms caused “general outrage”.

But Mr Smith, who is also a Basildon and county councillor, said: “It’s just genuine hypocrisy.

“Ukip MEP Janice Atkinson called someone a ‘ting tong’, but according to Ukip towers that’s fine.

“There are people standing for Ukip up and down the country who have said a lot worse with a ‘plummy’ accent and nothing happens.

"They want a white van man’s vote, but they don’t want a white van man’s voice.”

Mr Moyies was Ukip chairman for the east of England, leader of the Ukip group on Southend Council and was widely expected to be the party’s parliamentary candidate for Rochford and Southend East.

But he and three other Ukip Southend councillors fell out with Mr Waterworth, also a councillor, after he was selected for the seat.

Mr Moyies denied the suspension, which Ukip’s head office has confirmed, and claimed the party was going to investigate his claims Mr Waterworth cheated on the selection and behaved aggressively to colleagues.

He said: “The four councillors, who work as a team, felt the aggressive nature of Floyd Waterworth towards fellow councillors and residents was not what we wanted within our team.

“The national party is fully informed of the aggressive behaviour across Essex and we expect them to investigate the behaviour, used to gain a position in the party.”

Mr Waterworth, who represents Blenheim Park, said: “I’m grateful for Nigel’s comments about Southend that it should be a settled matter.

“We are getting on with campaigning.

“It’s a shame we can’t take everyone with us, as appears to be the case.

“We have to accept the party’s policies and procedures and the democratic decision of party members.”