UKIP leadership candidate Raheem Kassam has called on Suzanne Evans to stop the infighting so that the party can effectively hold the government to account.
Speaking on talkRADIO this week, Kassam argued that for UKIP to once again be a force that is able to represent and address its members concerns, it’s essential that the party comes together.
Breitbart London’s editor in chief appeared on the air just minutes after Evans, but presenter James Whale said that while he’d hoped to bring the pair together, she had refused to debate with her fellow leadership contender, explaining only that she “doesn’t like” Kassam.
“I’m not surprised that she won’t come on and speak with me”, the Breitbart London editor responded, asserting that Evans’s campaign has been characterised by negativity.
“All across the country all I hear about her is ‘we know what she’s against, she’s against you, but what is she actually for?’” he added.
Addressing Evans’s claim that he is “taking UKIP as far to the right as it can go”, Kassam suggested listeners look at the “common sense, common ground policy solutions” for the party outlined on the leadership hopeful’s website.
Describing as “absolute nonsense” the suggestion he would take the party to right-wing extremes, the Breitbart London editor asked: “How many racists or far-right people would you see joining and staying in a political party led by a guy called Raheem Kassam?”
Asked by Whale about the possibility of UKIP changing its name after the country’s vote to leave the European Union (EU), Kassam said the party should first focus its efforts on ensuring Brexit actually happens.
Suggesting UKIP could consider a name change in a couple of years after Brexit is secured, he argued that fighting for independence should be the party’s “number one goal”.
“We are the UK Independence Party and we will fight for the independence of the United Kingdom until we’re blue in the face… or purple,” Kassam added.
Pointing out that the battle for Brexit has not yet been won, the leadership contender warned “Theresa May and the remainiac supporters surrounding her” are dragging out the process of triggering Article 50, and want UKIP out of the way so that they “can get on with softening the Brexit vote”.
Admitting frustration over infighting in the party and Evans’s “childish and vindictive” attitude, the Breitbart London editor said UKIP must “push forward with good policy solutions for this country” so it can best advocate for changes that improve the lives of its supporters.
“You know, when people are struggling to make ends meet, when people are wondering why the heck the government gives away so much money in foreign aid and doesn’t fix their potholes and doesn’t fund their mental health services in their constituencies and we’re bickering about nonsense, how does it make us look to people?
“Once again, I’m issuing a call to Suzanne Evans to come and see me, coffee’s on me, we’ll sort it all out,” Kassam concluded.
Ms. Evans has still not responded to a letter from Mr. Kassam asking for a clean campaign after she launched her leadership bid by smearing vast swathes of the party as “far right”.