Thursday 18 January 2018

'We're not Nazis, you've shown that by electing me' - new Ukip leader

Henry Bolton, who has been elected as the new Ukip party leader, speaks during the Ukip National Conference at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay. Photo: PA
Henry Bolton, who has been elected as the new Ukip party leader, speaks during the Ukip National Conference at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay. Photo: PA

Arj Singh in Torquay

Ukip's new leader Henry Bolton has said the party has avoided becoming the "UK Nazi Party" with his election at the expense of a candidate who described Islam as "evil".

The little-known candidate beat the two front-runners in the contest - controversial Sharia Watch director Anne Marie Waters, who is originally from Dublin, and London Assembly member Peter Whittle - to win with 3,874 votes.

His shock victory avoided a potential split of the party, with a number of MEPs reportedly threatening to quit if Ms Waters won, and appeared to bring back on board Ukip big-hitters Nigel Farage and millionaire donor Arron Banks.

The former Army officer told the party's conference in Torquay: "Brexit is our core task, however, it is not the end of the line" and signalled a softening of Ukip's message on Islam.

Asked whether Ukip had avoided becoming the "UK Nazi Party", referring to comments he made in the campaign, Mr Bolton told a press conference: "Absolutely, yes."

He went on: "Absolutely, I think the party has today voted for a leader who has been very open about what he feels is the way forward, and that's myself of course."

Shortly after his victory was announced, Mr Farage took to Twitter to declare himself "delighted", describing Mr Bolton as "a man of real substance".

On policy, Mr Bolton stressed Islam was "more dominating" than Christianity but said he would ditch Ukip's general election "integration agenda", which focused almost entirely on Muslims, declaring: "We need to look at the integration of all immigrant communities."

He said there was "an issue" with face coverings but said focusing purely on banning the burka would not solve a security problem.

"The nature of Islam and the practices are such that they tend to have a more dominating effect in a community where there's a large Muslim population than the Christian community," he said.

He added: "I absolutely abhor the rhetoric that says we are at war with Islam. My platform is a broad one for delivering for the British people across the place, it is not focused on Islam."

Mr Bolton did, however, signal he could be the latest in a long line of Ukip leaders to act as a scourge of liberals.

Commenting on the transgender debate, he said: "I think we are getting a bit far when we are encouraging children in some cases to question their own sexuality, I think that is certainly going too far."

Irish Independent

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