The Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for Thurrock has stepped down and is under investigation after a series of tweets using racist and homophobic language were uncovered.

Kevin McNamara, who was in the process of running to become Thurrock's MP, has come under criticism on social media after the tweets were uncovered, dating back to 2009. 

Mr McNamara boasts 39,000 followers on his @KevinMPMcNamara account, which has now been deleted. 

One tweet states: "I smelt horse s**t and saw a black guy walk into KFC. This summarises Grays."

In other tweets he called a fellow Twitter user a "f*ggot" as well as using the N-word. 

In a statement, Mr McNamara said: “I am deeply sorry for the comments that I made that are currently being reported in the press.

"These words are deeply offensive and I apologise profusely to everybody that I have offended with these tweets.

“I would never want to undermine the voices of those communities with slurs or degradation and it’s important that people who want to represent the public are held to the very highest standard.

!I am resigning as a candidate with immediate effect for the upcoming election.

“I apologise to all of those I have let down with my past conduct and will work hard to regain their trust.”

A Liberal Democrat spokesperson said: “Kevin McNamara has now resigned as PPC for Thurrock. A disciplinary process has been instigated.”