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The picture above was posted by Maria Pizzey on Facebook, along with text as follows:

“This is UKIP’s MEP candidate for the South East. She described herself as ‘Nigel’s number two’.

“She told us to f**k off because we stood peacefully holding placards accusing UKIP of racist policies.

“She offered no debate or arguments to defend her party and despite the chap in the picture asking us to pose for photos, this was her response when asked to return the favour.

“She made personal comments about my body size and when I told her I would quote her widely she said, ‘I don’t care where you f***ing post this, just f**k off!’

“Hilariously, I have just discovered she is UKIP’s press advisor. This is the most rude and aggressive individual I have had the misfortune to come across and she wants to represent this country in Europe. By the way her name is Janice Atkinson.”

The racism debate has been running for some time and many readers may wish to defend Ms Atkinson’s attitude towards people acting in as provocative a way as to display posters accusing her party of promoting such behaviour. In addition, it is impossible to provide empirical verification of the account; given the photographic evidence, there just seems to be little reason to accuse Ms Pizzey of falsehood.

Bearing in mind those caveats, we are told that Ms Atkinson did not even try to persuade the protesters that they were mistaken – she just went straight to the abuse.

UKIP is currently riding high in voting intention polls for the European Parliament election.

With this attitude, one has to ask why.