Nigel Farage slams Ukip leader over Tommy Robinson appointment
Nigel Farage has slammed current Ukip leader Gerard Batten over his decision to appoint Tommy Robinson as one of his advisors.
Mr Batten said he had taken on the controversial former English Defence League leader due to his “great knowledge” on "rape gangs and prison reform".
But Farage said: “Gerard Batten has got this sort of fixation with Tommy Robinson and discussing Islam, and dragging UKIP in a direction of effectively being sort of a street activist party right at the moment when we have a betrayal of Brexit going on by both the Conservative and Labour parties, where UKIP’s got potential reach out among the electorate, the highest it’s ever been.
“It goes against all the things I did as leader to say we will talk about immigration, we will talk about the extreme forms of Islam [and] we’ll do it as a non-racist, non-sectarian party. This blows a hole in all of that.”
He added: “He doesn’t have the support of the party to do this.
“Even a poll of party members shows that his issues are very low down on our list of priorities, so I’m going to fight, try to save Ukip – but if it continues in this direction, electorally it is finished.”
Mr Batten had previously tried to persuade Mr Robinson, who he described as a “tremendously brave man”, to join the party.
In October, he said: “He’s done a lot of things that I’m happy to say I don’t condone, I don’t approve of.”
In 2009, Mr Robinson was convicted of assaulting an off-duty police officer.
The right-wing activist also has convictions for mortgage fraud, as well as public order and drugs offences.
His appointment as an adviser to the Ukip leader is likely to infuriate swathes of party members who have become increasingly concerned by the group's lurch to the right.
PoliticsHome provides the most comprehensive coverage of UK politics anywhere on the web, offering high quality original reporting and analysis: Subscribe