Raheem Kassam, editor in chief of Breitbart London, appeared on LBC radio to talk about being the front-runner in the UKIP leadership race.
The race for leadership of the UK Independence Party has started to heat up this past week following the announcements by Suzanne Evans and Paul Nuttall of their candidatures.
Candidate Raheem Kasssam announced his intentions to run much earlier than Ms. Evans and Mr. Nuttall and is favoured to win. Mr. Kassam appeared on LBC radio, hosted by Stig Abell, to talk about his candidacy.
Mr. Abell started out with one of the most pressing issues for UKIP: whether the party has a reason for existing since the UK-EU referendum delivered a Leave vote. Mr. Kassam replied, as he has to previous commentators like Jon Gaunt, by saying that UKIP was needed to make sure the government carried out the will of the people and leave the political bloc entirely.
Mr. Kassam also emphasised his vision for UKIP to become a real opposition party – a view he laid out in his recent policy proposals and which he has discussed on several radio programmes including TalkRADIO with James Whale. Whale was so impressed by Kassam’s passion he called him the first “energised” UKIP candidate since Nigel Farage.
The choice of slogan which Kassam has employed for his campaign, “Make UKIP Great Again”, was raised by Mr. Abell who asked if Kassam was using the popularity and renown of U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to attract attention to his campaign. Stating that the slogan was originally employed by U.S. president Ronald Reagan, Kassam admitted the slogan was tongue-in-cheek and an effective way to raise awareness of his campaign.
Many consider Kassam to be the front runner of the race, especially following the endorsement of major UKIP donor Arron Banks and the tacit endorsement of Nigel Farage.
“I am now the front runner in this campaign and that is because I believe that we are making people excited about UKIP again,” Kassam said. He added: “We’re making people feel that the party has relevance in a time of great existential crisis and there is a man who’s coming for the positive ideas for the party and I think we need to continue with that.”
Kassam noted that his leadership campaign was not only larger than all of the current campaigns but was larger than the last 20 years’ worth of UKIP leadership campaigns combined.
The Breitbart chief went on to comment on the statements made on Sunday by fellow leadership candidate Suzanne Evans on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show who labelled Kassam as “far right” saying: “I was really disappointed that sixty seconds into her announcements down she went for negative tactics.” Kassam had said he had sent her a text message the previous week hoping that the race could remain positive for the sake of unifying the party.
When pressed if his journalistic work would make fewer people take him seriously as a candidate, Kassam replied: “Even if people considered me not a serious candidate, the other side are not laughing now,” in reference to the speech given by Nigel Farage in the European Parliament after the Brexit vote.