THE man who stood for Ukip in Swindon in the 2017 general election has been suspended by the party.

Martin Costello was involved in an fracas at a London bookshop at the weekend.

The suspension was one of three announced by Ukip’s chairman Tony McIntyre in the wake of the protest, which was filmed and has been seen thousands of times online.

Police were called to Bookmarks in Bloomsbury, central London, on Saturday and a statement on the shop’s Facebook page said “around a dozen mask-wearing protesters” attempted to intimidate staff and customers and to destroy books and other materials.

In a statement, Ukip said Mr McIntyre has suspended three members - Elizabeth Jones, Luke Nash-Jones and Mr Costello - pending an investigation.

“It is understood that the three members were involved in an incident at the Bookmarks bookshop in London on Saturday,” the statement said.

There were no arrests and no reports of any injuries following the incident.

The Metropolitan Police are investigating.

Mr Costello claimed there was no violence or criminality at the bookshop.

Yesterday, he told the Adver he as in the shop looking for a book when the incident happened, although the video shows him with the other protesters outside the store wearing a Make Britain Great Again baseball cap and sunglasses.

He said: “This is all part of party procedure until it is investigated fully - I’d be more concerned if they didn’t to be honest.

“I’ve gained a huge following so naturally going to be attacked.

“I won’t be stopped from telling the truth and I won’t stop fighting for my fellow Swindonians.

“I’m still waiting to see evidence of this ‘ransacked shop’, where is it?”

Sarah Church, Labour’s MP candidate in South Swindon, said she thought the incident was 'senseless'.

She added: “It’s hard to understand what the aim of the attack on the bookshop was. It looked senseless, hostile and wholly unprovoked.

"Independent bookshops are one of the last bastions of independent thought.”

An Adver reader commented on the story saying: “If anyone was in any doubt what Ukip really stand for, now we know.

"They may be getting a few more members but they are still a very small minority party and always will be.”

Edward Lawrence wrote on the Adver’s Facebook post “How would he like it if someone went to his work and called him a paedophile and an anti-Semite?” and Chris Deeley wrote: “As your fellow Swindonian, please stop fighting for me, you’re making us look bad.

“You were clearly present at an event among a small number of people several of whom behaved reprehensibly.”

Mr Costello came fourth in a five candidate field in South Swindon at last year’s general election with 1,291 votes, 2.5 per cent of votes cast.

Mr Costello has not responded to further requests for comment from the Advertiser.