Ukip leader Paul Nuttall may not stand at general election

The Ukip leader said the decision would be taken locally

Jon Stone
Political Correspondent
@joncstone
Sunday 23 April 2017 14:01
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The Ukip leader suggested his party could stand down in certain seats in favour of eurosceptic MPs from other parties
The Ukip leader suggested his party could stand down in certain seats in favour of eurosceptic MPs from other parties

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has refused to say whether he will stand as a candidate to become an MP at the general election.

Asked on Sunday whether he would be standing, Mr Nuttall said he would have “conversations with branches” about his potential candidacy.

It comes after the Ukip leader suggested his party could stand down in certain seats in favour of eurosceptic MPs from other parties.

​Ukip has dipped in the polls since the start of the general election campaign, with significant numbers of the party’s voters swinging behind Theresa May’s Conservatives.

Mr Nuttall clarified that his party was not only considering standing down against Conservative candidates, but also potentially the small number of eurosceptic Labour MPs.

“I didn’t just say Tory candidates. They could be people like Kate Hoey as well. This will not be an order coming down from the top of the party, I will speak to branches over the coming weeks and we will make discussions,” he told the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show.

“What I don’t want to see happen is good Brexiteers… people who’ve campaigned for years for Brexit, I don’t want to see them lose their seats and get a Remainer in their place.”

In the same interview Mr Nuttall defended his party’s policy of banning Muslim women from wearing face covering veils such as the burqa and niqab.

“We have a heightened security risk at the moment and for CCTV to be effective you need to see people’s faces, because whether we like it or not in this country there’s more CCTV per head than anywhere else on the planet,” he said.

“We’re the most watched and for that to be effective you need to see people’s faces.

“Secondly, there’s the issue of integration – I don’t believe you can integrate fully and enjoy the fruits of British society if you can’t see people’s faces.”

Asked why Ukip had changed from its 2013 stance of not wanting to ban the veil, Mr Nuttall said: “There’s obviously the bigger security threat that we face now.”

The latest ComRes poll has Ukip on just 7 per cent. The same survey shows the Conservatives on 50 per cent, Labour on 25 per cent and Lib Dems on 11 per cent.

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