UKIP accused of stirring race hate
Date published: 19 November 2015
UKIP have been accused of trying to stir up racial hatred in Oldham following the Paris terror attacks.
A by-election leaflet distributed by the anti-EU party — which at first sight looks like a Labour pamphlet — lists “uncontrolled, mass immigration”, the “axeing” of the armed forces, the abolition of the monarchy and handing back the Falklands as Labour party policies.
But Labour said UKIP leader Nigel Farage was attempting to “divide Oldham again” — a reference to the bitter race riots of 2001.
UKIP have dubbed the claim “ridiculous”.
The leaflet appears to form part of a strategy by UKIP set out from day one of the Oldham West and Royton by-election campaign, aiming to paint Mr Corbyn as unpatriotic and supporting open borders.
But Denton and Reddish MP Andrew Gwynne, who is running Labour’s campaign for candidate Jim McMahon, said the leaflet would only heighten fears of racial tension, particularly in the wake of the Paris attacks.
“UKIP are trying to take Oldham backwards to the days of division,” he said.
“There was a multi-faith vigil this week to commemorate the tragic events in Paris and the imam in the central mosque in Oldham spoke quite strongly of the dangers of dividing Oldham again.
“There’s a very real risk. It is a very dangerous game Ukip are playing.
“Rather than giving a positive vision they are seeking to disunite Oldham.”
The leaflet has been designed to look initially like Labour material, but is unlikely to trigger a complaint to the Electoral Commission because it does have a small imprint confirming it is a UKIP pamphlet.
It appears to have been inspired by a number of comments from Mr Corbyn either recently or in the past, largely stemming from his pacifist beliefs.
Mr Gwynne said none of the leaflet was Labour party policy.
But a UKIP spokesman pointed to Mr Corbyn’s questioning of the Government’s “shoot to kill” policy.
He added: “To say we are trying to disunite Oldham is outrageous and ridiculous.
“They are the ones with the leader who only yesterday was talking in a way that’s unconscionable for his own party, about not dealing with terrorism. They are the ones with questions to answer.”
He said the leaflet had been drawn up well before last Friday’s attacks.