Henry Bolton said there is a concern amongst people that their way of life is being “pushed aside”, and vowed to “address it” as he spoke to The Sun a day after his shock election.
Via: Alain Tolhurst
The 54-year-old ex-Army officer had said he wanted to move the party away from focusing on Islam after their manifesto earlier this year contained an “integration agenda” which was almost entirely about Muslims.
And the issue had been brought back to the fore when the controversial anti-Islam campaigner Anne-Marie Waters was the favourite to win the leadership election.
Mr Bolton, who pushed her into second place yesterday, signalled a softening stance on the issue when he spoke to the media, saying he had a “broad platform” and wanted to “move away from the focus on Islam”.
But he swung the focus right back to the religion this morning, when asked if he stood by his comments during the campaign that he was proud of “fighting Islam”.
He said: “There is a concern amongst the population writ large that there is an undermining through general immigration and the weight of numbers that we’ve got – and Islam as well – that our culture is being buried by this, being sort of pushed aside.
“That is a concern that we need to recognise is out there, there is a perception that is out there and we need to address it.”
And in his first speech as leader this afternoon he said immigration is “overwhelming” our public services and said “multiculturalism is swamping or displacing our own British culture”.
To supportive shouts from the audience at the conference in Torquay he said it was “changing our way of life” and demanded “our concerns are heard”.
Mr Bolton said: “We presently have a net immigration that equates to the population of Wolverhampton or Hull every year.
“Immigration is overwhelming our public services, housing and communities.
“Of course we are. And this party shall.”
He said: “Across the UK, people see their communities changing without their voice being heard and without any attempt to consult with them.
“Construction and housing developments are given the go –ahead without anyone caring to listen to the community.
“Doctor’s surgeries are being closed, police numbers are being cut and crime is increasing. Multi-culturism is swamping or displacing British culture.”
The new party leader, who once ran against Philip Hammond as a Lib Dem, called for an Australian-style points-based system for managing migration – but failed to lay out a cap on migration numbers.
Yesterday he told a press conference Islam was “more dominating” than Christianity but declared: “We need to look at the integration of all immigrant communities in this country.”
He said as a former police officer there was “an issue” with face coverings but said focusing purely on banning the burka would not solve a security problem.
And he added: “I absolutely abhor the rhetoric that says we are at war with Islam.”
He tackled the subject again in his speech, which began with him walking out to Pharrell’s ‘Happy’ and waving a Union Jack as he slammed the “arrogance” of senior EU figures Donald Tusk, Guy Verhofstadt, Jean-Claude Juncker and Michel Barnier.
But he said they were only acting that way due to the lack of leadership from Theresa May, as he pulled apart her Florence speech for not having any detail on Brexit.
There were shouts of “betrayal” from the delegates as he slammed her plans for a transitional deal after we exit the bloc, keeping us under Brussels rule for an additional two years.
And there were cheers when he said Britain should be prepared to walk away from the negotiations without a deal and go it alone.
Despite the hall being half-empty the crowd made plenty of noise as this previously unknown figure outside Ukip looks to be well on the way to galvanising what has been a fractured party since its electoral high point in 2015.
And he got the members worked up when he attacked the Prime Minister for making cuts to the armed services – suggesting the money is being used to pay off the EU in exchange for a deal.
Mr Bolton pointed out 1,000 Royal Marines are being made redundant and claimed we have “fewer main battle tanks than neutral Switzerland”.
He added: “The government praises our servicemen and women whilst stabbing them in the back.”
And the party’s boss, their fourth in just over a year, went into his plans for the future of Ukip – promising a less top-down approach.
He wanted to get candidates picked for seats earlier, after admitting the party were not ready for this year’s snap election, and would give branches more control of their finances.
Mr Bolton also plans to allow members to come up with policy ideas, and pledged to try and get more donors to help fill its empty coffers.
But he finished by saying Brexit remains the party’s “core task”, telling the audience: “We must believe in our history, we must believe in our future and we must believe in ourselves.
“We must rouse ourselves, we must organise and we must lead. We must be vigilant and determined
“Brexit remains our core task and to secure the future of our great nation is our core purpose. Failure is not an option!”
Speaking earlier today Mr Bolton also seemed to be softening Ukip’s stance on immigration at the same time though.
He refused to put a figure on the number of people who would be allowed into the country, in contradiction with all previous policy.
Their most recent manifesto said their aim would be to get net migration down to zero – from it’s current figure of around 250,000 a year.
And their 2015 manifesto, which Mr Bolton said he would use as the starting point for his policy proposals, said skilled migration would be capped at 50,000.
But Mr Bolton said: “No, I’m not going to put a number on it.
“For me what is important as a society and as a government and an administration providing services, we must be able to manage the inflow of immigration.”
The Government’s official position is that they are aiming to reduce net migration to the “tens of thousands”, but they have been unsuccessful in each of the years it has been their policy.
Mr Bolton criticised Theresa May for the pledge, saying “anybody who is putting a figure on it is being entirely unrealistic”.
The ex-police officer, who was given an OBE in 2013 for his security work around the globe, said Ukip had avoided becoming the “UK Nazi party” by failing to elect Ms Waters as leader.
She hit back after tweeting last night “today: Jihad – 1 Truth – 0”, posting: “Thank you so much to everyone who supported me during this campaign.
“The truth is still true, and we will never ever be Nazis
“During WWII, Islamic leaders colluded with Hitler to annihilate the Jews. The truth is still true, and I will never ever be a Nazi.”