WATCH Ukip election campaign launch thrown into chaos by anti-racist protesters

Posted On: 
28th April 2017

Ukip's election campaign launch descended into chaos after it was targeted by anti-racism campaigners.

Protester Naima Omar at the Ukip campaign launch
Credit: 
PA

Several members of the Stand Up to Racism group were thrown out of the event before party leader Paul Nuttall arrived to deliver a keynote speech.

They were protesting against Mr Nuttall's announcement that the party would commit to banning full-face veils in public, crack down on female genital mutilation and Sharia courts, and block the opening of new Islamic schools.

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Former Ukip donor Arron Banks accused the party of waging a "war on Muslims". 

PoliticsHome also revealed that several of Ukip's MEPs were up in arms over the new policies, with foreign affairs spokesman Jim Carver resigning from his position.

The chaos began shortly before the event was due to begin this morning.

Mr Nuttall insisted today that the policies were not discriminatory but aimed at "breaking down barriers" and "integrating people into society". 

Elsewhere in his speech, the Ukip leader said his party would be proposing the abolition of the First Past the Post electoral system and the House of Lords, coupled with the establishment of an English Parliament. 

NUTTALL LIKES TO BE BESIDE THE SEASIDE?

Mr Nuttall is due to announce tomorrow which seat he will be contesting in the upcoming election, with policy adviser Patrick O'Flynn strongly hinting he will go for a coastal constituency.

"I'll tell you what, I will give you one clue seeing as you've patiently come and waited, which is - pack your bucket and spade," he said.

Mr O'Flynn, who is currently an MEP for Eastern England, said the party would have a more focused electoral strategy than at the 2015 elections, when they picked up just a single seat despite getting nearly 4m votes.

“I think it got to over 30 prime targets [in 2015], we were in a political context then when we’d had the Clacton and Rochester by-elections, we’d won the European elections and, you know, for a while I think it’s fair to say anything seemed possible, there were even some journalists writing about Ukip winning 40 seats.

“We won’t have as many prime target seats as that, or anything like as many as that, we don’t particularly want to give all our campaign strategy secrets away…but there will be a lot fewer key target seats.” 

RESIGNING MATTER?

Mr Nuttall insisted he would not consider stepping down if the Eurosceptic party fail to win any seats on 8 June, although he is sure to come under pressure to do so, particularly after his failure to win the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election in February.

"As for me resigning, look, Ukip’s got a big future ahead of it, it really has, in terms of membership the party is pretty much where it was at the referendum, we’re going to be financially secure, I think we’re in with a chance of winning a number of seats at this election, we’ll be targeting sensibly in terms of financial resources and manpower," he told reporters. 

"If we were to fail – and by the way I don’t believe for a second we will fail, I think we will have seats in the Huose of Commons after this election – would I consider my position, will I resign? No, I don’t think I would because I think Ukip has a fantastic future ahead."