Nigel Farage sensationally quits Ukip over fears Tommy Robinson is turning party into BNP, by Thomas Burrows.
THREE time UKIP leader Nigel Farage has sensationally QUIT the party tonight.
Ukip’s most famous face has torn up his membership card after 25 years in disgust at the party’s “obsession” with Tommy Robinson.
The 54-year-old claimed the party, under anti-Islam leader Gerard Batten, was “turning a blind eye to extremist politics”.
He says that he had always banned BNP and EDL members from joining Ukip, but now under Batten it seemed that he had aligned himself with the EDL founder who has a “pretty suspect record”. …
Mr Farage, who tried and failed seven times to become a Ukip MP and is still an MEP for the party, said there was a “huge space” for a Brexit party in British politics but claimed it “won’t be filled by Ukip”. …
There is also a huge space for a party aiming to slow immigration and to slow down or reverse the Islamification of England. Putting the Brexit movement in the same party is not an obvious fit, so Mr Farage’s objection is understandable. But that is the difference between a political party and a pressure group — the latter can just be about a single issue, but the former needs to cover all the issues.
“Under Gerard Batten’s leadership, however, the party’s direction has changed fundamentally.
“He seems to be obsessed with the religion of Islam and not just Islamic extremism and Ukip wasn’t founded to be a party based on fighting a religious crusade.
“He’s also obsessed with this figure Tommy Robinson who is seen by some to be a great hero standing up and fighting for working class people, but who has a pretty suspect record — and who brings with him a group of people amongst which we see scuffles, violence. Many have criminal records, some pretty serious.
“All of it’s been dragging Ukip away from being an electoral party to a party of street activism…and turning a blind eye to extremist politics.