In a new interview with The Times, UKIP leadership candidate Raheem Kassam sets out his policies and claims he could beat any of the current party leaders in a debate.
Speaking to Times journalist Hannah McGrath, Breitbart editor-in-chief and UK Independence Party leadership candidate Raheem Kassam outlined his policies for the future of the party. Against a backdrop of media frenzy over his Twitter account, Mr. Kassam spoke about his policies to move the party forward and stated he could out-debate any of the party leaders on matters of public policy.
The Times described Kassam as a “30-year-old blogger”and a possible homage to U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump due to his “Make UKIP Great Again” slogan. When asked about Trump, Kassam said he found him boring after meeting him and said he could out-debate the presidential candidate without much effort.
“Actually, when you get down to the direct policy stuff I’m going to kick him all over the court,” he said, adding: “You want to put me up against anyone head to head? Put me up against Jeremy Corbyn, put me up against Theresa May, put me up against Nicola Sturgeon, I could beat them in any debate.”
Mr. Kassam spoke about the various media smears against him over a handful of tweets, some of which he had deleted, saying people should be allowed to make off-colour remarks – but at the same time made it clear harassment of women wasn’t acceptable for public faces of UKIP.
Describing himself as potentially the youngest party leader since Pitt the Younger, who became Prime Minister at 24, Kassam noted the over 1,000 supporters who had joined his twibbon campaign, many of whom are women and would not be put off by media attempts to smear him.
Kassam hit out at fellow leadership candidate Suzanne Evans who labelled him “far right” only 60 seconds into her leadership bid announcement on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show on Sunday. Evans later refused to debate Kassam when offered a spot on TalkRADIO with host James Whale. Mr. Whale had previously referred to Kassam as the first energised UKIP candidate since Nigel Farage.
The label of far right has been tossed around by other media outlets due to remarks made by Kassam about screening former British National Party (BNP) and English Defence League (EDL) members who may wish to join UKIP in the future, which is in contrast to the party’s current blanket ban.
“Some people are penitent sinners that got dragged along to a march when they were 15, 16-years-old and now they’re tarred with that brush for life,” he said.
Nationalism is often mislabeled “far right” in media circles, but Kassam defended the idea of civic nationalism.
He said: “I don’t think nationalism is a dirty thing. I’m a nationalist but I’m a civic nationalist, I believe in flying the flag, I believe in standing up for your country, I believe in protecting your borders, I believe in doing the best for your people first.”
The move could potentiall;y grab the attention of patriotic working class Brexit supporters in the north of England, who pundits claim have largely abandoned the Labour party.