Recent weeks saw the twin pratfalls of the party’s candidate for Cambridge, Rupert Read, being forced to issue an apology for "disappointing" comments he made about transgender people, while party leader Natalie Bennett said it should not be a crime to belong to ISIS.
Read wrote he was troubled by the word ‘cisgender’ to refer to someone who is not transgender and referred to transgender women as "an opt-in version of what it is to be a woman". He later clarified he was not against the word cisgender and that his remarks were an attempt to "discuss a hypothetical philosophical position".
But the party, which has its heartland in the gay-friendly city of Brighton, was forced on to the back foot and Bennett issued a statement that the leadership was "disappointed" by the remarks. Bennett also raised eyebrows when she said, in an interview with BBC1’s Sunday Politics show, that joining Al-Qaeda or ISIS should not be a crime and people should only be punished for supporting or inciting acts of violence rather than what they thought.
All of which points to a party that has suddenly found itself in the deep end. Perhaps its new sobriquet of ‘the UKIP of the left’ is not so wide of the mark.