UKIP leadership contender Lisa Duffy defended her pledge to ban the wearing of Muslim veils in public places yesterday, claiming the measure would promote a “well-rounded community.”
Ms Duffy, who is backed by the party’s former spokeswoman Suzanne Evans, also rejected comparisons with US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump as she launched her campaign.
She insisted that her plan to prohibit the veil in public buildings, shopping centres, buses and trains would ensure “one rule for all” that allayed people’s fears about Islam.
Among her other policies, she calls for the closure of Muslim faith schools until Islamist terrorism has been dealt with and a “complete and comprehensive ban” on sharia courts in Britain.
Ms Duffy claimed the veil ban would be similar in practice to asking teenagers to remove hoods or motorcyclists to take off helmets in public.
Speaking in central London she said: “This is not about singling out. This is about working to make sure we have a well-rounded community, a community that has an opportunity for all.
“When I talk about the veil in public places, it’s about one rule for all. It’s not about trying to drive hatred, it’s not about trying to attack a minority.”
However, she described the veil as “a symbol of aggressive separatism that can only foster extremism,” adding that, under her leadership, Ukip would advocate a “show your face in public” policy.
Hope Not Hate director Nick Lowles told the Star: “She is the latest in a long line of leading Ukip politicians to make blatant anti-Muslim comments. It says something about them as politicians and the party they’re representing.
“Fortunately, the vast majority of British people are happy with diversity and don’t want to get involved in how people should dress.”
Ukip MEP and fellow leadership contender Bill Etheridge suggested that Ms Duffy was “chasing the bigot vote” and said he did not want to focus on “small issues like Islam,” despite backing a ban on the burqa at his own leadership launch in Manchester.
There are six candidates on the ballot paper in the election to replace Nigel Farage.
The victor will be announced at the party’s annual conference in Bournemouth on September 15.