UKIP denies pact with far-right Britain First
Britain First, which aims to “take our country back,” is a neo-fascist, anti-immigration and “anti-Islamification” group founded in 2011 by Jim Dowson, a former British National Party employee.
A UKIP spokesman said the party “condemned their aims and methods,” stressing it had “nothing whatsoever to do with Britain First.”
The embarrassing connection comes just days after it was revealed UKIP has lost a quarter of its support since November.
Analysis from polling group YouGov showed the party had lost one in four voters over the last five months and support has fallen from an average of 16.75 percent in November last year to 12.25 percent by the end of March.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage conceded his party had “slipped back a bit” in the polls since the autumn surge of popularity fueled by its by-election successes in Clacton and Rochester.
However, the party leader insisted he wasn’t panicking and the “issues that UKIP is campaigning on are back in play.”
The news followed Prime Minister David Cameron’s plea to UKIP voters to “come home” to the Conservative Party to help prevent Labour Party leader Ed Miliband coming to office.
In an interview with the Telegraph, Cameron said he had heard the protest message of UKIP voters “loud and clear” but urged them to help him “avert the danger of a Labour government.”
Britain First claims to be a patriotic organization that opposes Islam as a religion because the Koran allegedly “promotes hatred and violence towards non-Muslims.”
Its alleged links with UKIP come a week after Britain First members clashed with Muslims outside the London Central Mosque, where supporters of radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary were handing out leaflets urging Muslims not to vote.
Britain First joined with another far-right group, the English Defence League (EDL), to stage their protest, where members provocatively wore niqab veils and pig head masks as they chanted anti-Islamic slogans.
The far-right protesters sang: “It’s our country, we’re taking it back” to the tune of The Beach Boys’ Sloop John B, while others shouted, “Scum!”
Local Muslims opposed the clashes. One young local who was trying to enter the mosque to pray told The Guardian: “It’s a mosque. People come here to pray and to be honest all that they are doing is making it hard for people to come and go. We should be trying to live together.”
Britain First founder Dowson quit the group in 2014 following what he called “provocative and counter-productive” mosque invasions.