Ukip members 'akin to Nazis', says Tory MP who claims it has cleansed his party of extremists

Robert Halfon ridicules MEPs Gerard Batten and Godfrey Bloom for recent comments

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A Tory MP has claimed Ukip has done David Cameron's party a favour by “cleansing” it of people with extreme views.

Robert Halfon accused Ukip MEP Gerard Batten of supporting a policy “literally akin to the Nazis” by suggesting Muslims should sign a charter rejecting violence.

In an interview with The House magazine, the Harlow MP claimed there was a “sinister element” to Nigel Farage's party. Mr Halfon also ridiculed former Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom, who now sits as an independent after a row over calling women at a meeting “sluts” and hitting the Channel Four News journalist Michael Crick on the head with a party conference programme.

Ukip said the “hysterical slurs” showed there was “growing Tory terror” about the party's rise in the polls.

Mr Halfon said: “To me there are two kinds of Ukip - the Godfrey Bloom guy who's like a cross between Sid James and Bernard Manning, and then there's a much more sinister element, like the MEP who said every Muslim has got to sign a declaration of non-violence, which to me is literally akin to the Nazis saying Jews should wear a yellow star.”

Mr Halfon, whose Jewish grandfather was forced to flee Libya to escape persecution, added: “I genuinely find it abhorrent and frightening. I'm amazed that man is still an MEP.

“How someone could say such a thing and then not apologise for it...”

But he added: “In many ways Ukip have done us an enormous favour because they're cleansing people from the Tory party that had these kinds of views, which is great because I don't want people who have those kinds of views in my party. So good luck to them, really.”

Mr Halfon, who has called for the Tories to rebrand as the Workers' Party and called for the oak tree logo to be replaced by a ladder, said the Conservatives could not win a big majority unless they spoke for low-income workers.

He said: “I believe Tory modernisation should be about one thing and that is being the party for the working poor - for people on low incomes. And everything else should follow.

“We may get into coalition again, we may even win a small majority of 10 or 20 MPs, but we'll never have a big majority unless we have a real narrative and working people think that we are speaking for them.”

But he added: “I hate the phrase 'blue collar'. It's patronising and it reminds me of those old Tory grandees who would come down from the mountains and say to the workers in the factories, 'have some bread'. I hate all that. I prefer 'white van Conservatism'.”

Mr Batten said in an email: “Mr Halfron's extremely stupid comments show just how frightened the Tories are of the Ukip electoral threat; and that there is no level to which they will not stoop when it comes to political smears against their opponents.”

He said he had commissioned “The Proposed Charter of Muslim Understanding” in 2006 following the 2005 London bombings.

“It is a serious attempt to identify those texts and doctrines that extremists and terrorists use to justify their actions; and to suggest remedies that moderate Muslims might choose to adopt to isolate the extremists,” he said.

“It was written by Sam Solomon, who is a former Sharia lawyer and an Islamic scholar.  It concludes with a five-point affirmation that invites individuals and organisations that purport to represent Muslims to affirm their belief in 'equality for all, the rejection of violence, tolerance and non-discrimination'. So far no one has been able to tell me which of those things, if any, they disagree with.

”Mr Halfron says that his Jewish grandfather was forced to flee Libya. It cannot have escaped his notice that Christians who have lived in Syria for 2,000 years are now also being forced to flee, precisely as a result of the extremist doctrines the Charter sought to address.”

Ukip leader Nigel Farage dismissed Mr Halfon's ”hysterical slurs“ and warned that his party could add the MP's Essex constituency - where he as a majority of less than 5,000 - to its list of target seats at the general election.

“Mr Halfon's hysterical slurs are the result of a growing Tory terror of Ukip's rising popularity all over the country,” he said.

“Because I believe in taking politics and the big arguments directly to the people, Ukip will now be having a national action day in Harlow.

“Let the voters of Harlow hear what we have got to say. I know that many of them are already flocking to our side.”

PA