Members of Ukip's governing committee backed a proposal for an electoral pact with the far-right British National party (BNP), it has emerged.
The 2008 proposal for an agreement was supported by two members of Ukip's 16-member national executive committee, a new book on Ukip has revealed.
Party leader Nigel Farage told the authors of Revolt Of The Right, Matthew Goodwin and Robert Ford, that the pair backing the move were "the angry old men of Ukip who thought Ukip was doomed".
"There were a lot of people saying to me at that time, 'You've got to do a deal with them'," Farage was quoted as saying.
"I even had Tory MEPs saying to me, 'Nigel, you've got to do a deal with these people.' We were being beaten by them regularly in local elections. So there was huge pressure on me."
A Ukip-BNP pact would be unthinkable for the hard-right party now. The rise of concerns about immigration and euroscepticism, together with disillusionment with the coalition government, means Ukip is now hoping to win this year's European elections outright.
But Ukip is struggling to transform itself away from a party where a link with the BNP would be anything other than unthinkable.
Its candidates for the European and British parliaments are now required to sign a charter declaring they have never engaged in "racist, violent, criminal or anti-democratic activity".
But today it emerged one Ukip candidate who stood in Mid-Worcestershire in the 2010 general election sent a racist email to the man who beat him, Conservative MP Peter Luff.
Luff forwarded John White's attack on Baroness Doreen Lawrence, the mother of murdered teenager Stephen Lawrence, to the police.
White, who told the Mail on Sunday he stood by his comments, wrote to Luff: "Mrs Lawrence should be elevated higher than the indigenous Brit, which she would normally be, due to the preference of her species for dwelling in high places."
After comparing Baroness Lawrence to a monkey he then questioned whether her son had been murdered, adding: "Latest ludicrous elevation of an ethnic-minority woman to baroness on the grounds of her being black with the distinction of having had a son murdered (sic) by white-men, is a crass injustice."
Ukip has said White is no longer a member of the party. He attracted over 3,000 votes in the 2010 election.