Nigel Farage warns Ukip faces ‘utter marginalisation’ over lurch to the far-right as party conference debates Tommy Robinson joining
- Nigel Farage tore into the direction Gerard Batten is taking the Ukip party in
- Mr Batten wants the ex BNP member and EDL founder to be allowed in the party
- Ukip’s conference is starting in Birmingham where Robinson will be discussed
Nigel Farage last night warned that Ukip faces ‘total and utter marginalisation’ if it lurches to the far-right and lets Tommy Robinson join.
The Brexiteer says he is ‘really upset’ over the propsects of the beleaguered party that he once led.
His stark warning comes as Ukip party members are set to debate letting Robinson – a former BNP member and founder of the far-right EDL group – into their party at their conference in Birmingham.
Ukip leader Gerard Batten has said he backs moves to let Robinson in – effectively overturning the party’s ban on far-right activists and fundamentally repivoting the party.
But Mr Farage lashed the plan, saying: ‘I’m completely opposed to it.
‘I wrote very explicitly into the rules of the party when I first became leader: we did not want anybody in the party that had taints with organisations we deemed to be on the far right of British politics.
‘I couldn’t have been clearer. It really upsets me to see the fact this debate is even taking place.’
Nigel Farage (pictured in London yesterday) warned that Ukip faces ‘total and utter marginalisation’ if it lurches to the far-right and lets Tommy Robinson join
Ukip leader Gerard Batten (pictured today in Birmingham) has said he backs moves to let Tommy Robinson in, in a move which would overturn the party’s ban on far-right activists and fundametally repivot the party
And he tore into Mr Batten’s leadership, adding: ‘I’m less than impressed with the current direction in which we’re going. It devalues, undermines many of the incredible achievements.
‘(Ukip is) in danger now unless it changes direction very, very quickly, of total and utter marginalisation.’
Mr Batten revealed to MailOnline that he is backing a hugely controversial motion to let Robinson, 35, into the party.
He said the activist could help the party broaden its appeal – particularly to voters in the north.
The two men are both vocal critics of Islam, which Robinson has dubbed ‘bigoted’ and Mr Batten has described as a ‘death cult’.
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Speaking this morning, Mr Batten hit back at Mr Farage warning his predecessor that he should be ‘a little bit more careful about criticising me’.
And he said he stood by his claims that Islam is a ‘death cult’ which sanctioned the use of sex slaves.
Mr Batten told Sky News: ‘Nigel is friends with Donald Trump, who a lot of people like to call names.
‘Nigel has gone to speak on platforms with Alternative fur Deutschland, who a lot of people don’t like and call names.
‘He is entitled to do that, because they are democratic parties, and I am entitled to speak at rallies organised by people who believe in democracy.
‘I think maybe he should be a little bit more careful about criticising me, because he has done similar things.’
Tommy Robinson (pictured in Rugby last month) could be allowed to join Ukip if party members decide to back a controversial motion at their conference in Birmingham
The Ukip leader also said that Robinson would not be admitted to Ukip ‘in the near future’ because it would require changes to the party’s rules.
But he added: ‘That’s something I would personally approve of, but it’s a matter for the party, it’s their decision, not mine… I don’t happen to think that Tommy Robinson is far-right.’
Mr Batten furiously denied that he is taking the Ukip towards the far-right.
He said: ‘For the last 25 years, myself and everyone else in Ukip has worked to restore our country’s former status as an independent democratic nation that is governed by our politicians, elected by us, sackable by us, in accordance with our traditional laws and customs and constitution.
‘If that makes you far right, I think whoever thinks that has got a very strange idea about what constitutes far right.’
Insisting that he was opposed to all totalitarian ideologies, he added: ‘If you look at any country in the world where Islam is predominant, they are either very repressive regimes or they are regimes that are in conflict internally. I think that’s something we have to be very wary of.’
He added: ‘The ideology of the religion does actually traditionally throughout its history make sex slaves legitimate.
Gerard Baten (pictured arriving at the party conference in Birmingham today), also today said he stood by his claims that Islam is a ‘death cult’ which sanctioned the use of sex slaves
Delegates arrived in Birmingham today for the start of Ukip’s two-day annual conference. Some members are furious at the prospect that Tommy Robinson could be allowed into the party and are warning they could walk out in disgust if he is let in
‘Their Prophet had sex slaves. It’s in the Hadith and the Koran, it’s a tradition that it’s OK to do.’
Mr Batten has said he wants to use the two-day conference in Birmingham to present the party as a true populist alternative.
He unveiled an interim manifesto including plans for an ‘NHS health card’ entitling British citizens to free medical treatment.
Non-Britons would require private medical insurance unless a post-Brexit UK had done a reciprocal deal with their government.
Other pledges include turning the UK Border Force into a ‘Migration Control Department’ with a remit to exclude ‘extremist’ Muslims and a five-year ban on property purchases by foreign nationals in designated areas.
Mr Batten said: ‘Its purpose is to make Ukip a populist party in the real meaning of the word – one whose policies are popular with voters.’
The conference will also see an address on freedom of speech by online activist ‘Count Dankula’, who, under his real name of Mark Meechan, was fined earlier this year for filming a pet dog giving Nazi salutes and posting the footage online.
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