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Ukip spy who infiltrated protest group ‘tried to encourage abuse of Farage’

Ukip sent a spy to obtain “information from the inside” on an anti-Nigel Farage protest group, where campaigners say he tried to encourage activists to deface posters and heckle outside meetings.

The party admitted that it had sent an informant into the Thanet branch of the “Stand Up to Ukip” group during the election campaign, following what the party described as “a series of threatening attacks against Mr Farage in the run-up”.

It added: “In order to provide reasonable security it was of course necessary to have information from the inside. In order to do this it was important to gain the trust of the activists, an approach used by a great many security operations tasked with protecting the safety and well being of a targeted individual.”

The party’s statement comes after campaigners in the Stand Up to Ukip group uncovered the spy after finding a photograph of him standing next to Farage and his close protection officers on a Ukip members’ Facebook page.

They said they were always suspicious of a man claiming to be called “Edward Johnson” who turned up for a few of their meetings this year in Farage’s target seat of South Thanet, saying he was a builder from Essex.

Party admits it sent informant into Thanet branch of Stand Up to Ukip during election campaign, and protesters claim he urged them to deface posters