The UKIP parliamentary candidate for North East Hampshire has been suspended from the party after undercover Daily Mirror investigators filmed him threatening to shoot his Tory rival.

Former bank accountant Robert Blay, 55 - who used to be a member of the Conservative Party - made the shocking comment against Ranil Jayawardena.

Mr Jayawardena, the deputy leader of Basingstoke & Deane Borough Council, was selected to replace current MP James Arbuthnot as the Tory candidate for North East Hampshire following an open primary held in November 2013.

Mr Blay told the Mirror reporter that Mr Jayawardena had been tipped to potentially be the country’s first British Asian prime minister, adding: "If this lad turns up to be our prime minister, I will personally put a bullet in him. That’s how strong I feel about it.

“I won’t have this f***** as our prime minister. I absolutely loathe him.”

The shocking remarks were made at a public meeting held in Kent on Saturday (May 2), which was attended by UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

A party spokesman said: "The views expressed by Mr Blay are abhorrent. As soon as they were brought to our attention, he was suspended from the party.

"Any comments of this sort have absolutely no place in British politics or public life, and the party would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mr Jayawardena for any distress caused."

North East Hampshire is one of Britain’s safest Tory seats, with Mr Arbuthnot polling a majority of more than 18,500 at the last general election, and Mr Jayawardena is the hot favourite to become the area's next MP.

Ranil Jayawardena and James Arbuthnot

Speaking about his own prospects of defeat on Thursday, Mr Blay said: “It makes me quite sick.

"But I’ve always said [that] in my constituency you could put a monkey out there with a blue rosette on and it would win.”

Mr Blay added: “His [Mr Jayawardena’s] family have only been here since the 70s. You are not British enough to be in our parliament.

“I’ve got 400 years of ancestry where I live. He hasn’t got that.

“I said to his dad about two months ago, 'when did you come to Britain?’. He said, 'in the 70s'.

“I said, ‘why did you come?’. He said, ‘things weren’t very good politically in Sri Lanka and I came here and I could train as an accountant’.

“So he’s come here and ponced off us hasn’t he, like all the east Europeans are? That’s what is happening. Continually.”

'He's a slippery b******'

Mr Blay went on: “His name’s Jayawardena and I’m told that name is a Tamil name. Well the Tamils were Indians which went to Sri Lanka to take it over and they got their arses kicked.

"So he comes here, ponces off us and then his son’s in our political system.”

And furthering his shocking rant, Mr Blay suggested Mr Jayawardena had deliberately made his wife pregnant in order to win votes.

"He’s 29 years old. He’s got his missus to drop a kid just before the election," he said.

“He’s planned the birth of the child, there’s no doubt about that. He’s a slippery b******. I’ve worked with him in the Tories.”

During his chat with the Mirror reporter, Mr Blay also described how he called the police following a heated row with an east European voter after he put a UKIP election leaflet through his door.

“He’s in my country,” he fumed.

“He’s a f****** immigrant and I’m not putting up with that s***, because that was abuse."

Robert Blay, suspended UKIP candidate in North East Hampshire
Robert Blay was filmed by an undercover reporter

As part of Get Hampshire's general election preview coverage, we asked all the North East Hampshire candidates what they would do to rejuvenate town centres and neighbourhood parades, to which Mr Blay replied: "Leave the EU and control immigration."

He spoke about being "born in the heart of the constituency" and growing up locally, adding: "Since my teens I have become increasingly frustrated as the cosy Westminster establishment have given away my country to unelected bureaucrats in Brussels - so I became a political activist in 2007."

And commenting further on the issue of immigration, Mr Blay said: "Uncontrolled EU immigration is changing the fabric of our society.

"Our NHS and welfare systems are under severe pressure as immigrants are treated and given access to benefits without having to pay in first.

"Jobs are taken from our indigenous population which leaves us with considerably higher unemployment than if we operated UKIP’s favoured Australian-style points-based system, with the requirement [that] anyone coming to the UK must have health insurance to cover their treatment."

UKIP has put Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union and stricter controls on immigration at the heart of its manifesto and Nigel Farage has had to repeatedly fend off questions during the election campaign about his party having racists in its ranks.

Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna last week claimed that a “virus of racism” runs through UKIP, which Mr Farage described as “complete and utter rubbish".

Ranil Jayawardena
Ranil Jayawardena

Responding to Mr Blay's comments, Mr Jayawardena said: "I was shocked to hear about these comments and that someone who holds these types of views could have been selected as a UKIP candidate.

"My family believes in hard work. My father came to this country to do just that – never claiming a penny from the state.

"He’s contributed to society as a magistrate and I’ve done the same as a local councillor.

"I hope to contribute positively to our country by representing my community – the community in which I grew up – in parliament."

Green Party candidate Andrew Johnston posted on Facebook with a message he had emailed to Mr Jayawardena.

It read: "I am appalled and disgusted by Robert Blay’s remarks... and want you to know we are all utterly ashamed of him.

"I am sorry you and your young family will have had to endure this vile and disgusting attack.

"I can assure you I will encourage all my UKIP friends (not that I have many) to vote for you.

"We need to build a better Britain without people like Mr Blay anywhere near 'public life'."

A Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said the force was reviewing the comments as part of "initial inquiries" but added that no-one had been arrested.

He said: "We're aware of media coverage regarding comments and an alleged threat made towards a prospective parliamentary candidate in the North East Hampshire constituency.

"The information available is being reviewed by Hampshire Constabulary.

"Police are in contact with the candidate affected by these comments as part of initial inquiries."