UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said that his UK Independence Party is becoming the British political party that ethnic minority voters will start to vote for and associate with, following a successful London campaign event featuring some of the party’s best and brightest non-British-born candidates.
Writing in The Times newspaper, Farage said: “…our economic spokesman, Steven Woolfe, himself from a mixed-race background, helped my staff to put together our response [to attack on the party]. I watched from the wings as Steven, Amjad Bashir, Sarinder Joshua Duroch, Pauline McQueen and Winston McKenzie delivered deeply felt and passionate speeches about the real racism they had encountered in their lives and of how in Ukip they had been delighted to be judged on their merits alone.
“The reception accorded to them by Ukip members from all kinds of backgrounds was electrifying. I was so proud of my party — a tear in my eye, a lump in my throat, hairs standing up on the back of my neck; yes, there was all of that. Naturally I had thought hard about what I wanted to say. But the key phrase came to mind about 30 seconds before I took to the stage: this was indeed Ukip’s Clause Four moment.”
“If there is a rump of racially prejudiced members of my party still lurking in the undergrowth, there was a message for them too in that hall: we do not need you and we do not want you.
“Winston McKenzie raised the roof when he proclaimed: “I’m black and I’m proud and I’ll shout it out loud!” Well, I’m a stockbroker’s son and Dulwich College old boy. My family came to Britain as part of the Huguenot influx more than 300 years ago. And I’m proud of that too.”
Farage used his platform to hit out at the Times following negative articles by Matthew Parris, and the failure of the newspaper to cover the London event at all. The UKIP leader said that the party will be twice as popular as the Conservatives among non-white voters by 2019.
Sunder Katwala, director of the think-tank British Future, told the Times : “It’s welcome that he feels he needs to say that and wants to reach out. But the agenda he’s had so far hasn’t appealed to minority Britons at all except in very small numbers,” he added.