The leader of UKIP’s Harrow branch will continue in his role despite controversial comments made on a social networking website.

Last week Jeremy Zeid, who stood for UKIP in the Kenton East ward in the May 22 local elections said on Twitter “the almost absence of white faces in Ilford is worrying.”

In a subsequent tweet, he said the Labour MP for the area Mike Gapes “is so busy being 'right on' he is either blind to or deliberately complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Ilford".

The comments provoked a large number of messages on social media condemning Mr Zeid's views.

Speaking to the Harrow Times Mr Zeid said: “What I said in those tweets was an observation. I admit I may have used the wrong words but I think it was fair point.

“It was not racist, but an observation about the area and I think the concerns raised afterwards have been a case of selective outrage and it is an attack on freedom of speech.”

Mr Zeid says he has spoken to the London UKIP party chairman to explain the situation about the tweets and he will continue as party chairman for Harrow.

A spokesman for the party said: “UKIP is a non-racist, non-sectarian party and all candidates and members are expected to uphold these values.

“Where evidence is produced to indicate a breach it will be considered at the earliest opportunity by the National Executive Committee as part of an established disciplinary procedure."

Mr Zeid has since removed his Twitter account. All tweets have been deleted.