Ukip's new leader says UK being 'buried' by Islam and 'swamped' by multiculturalism

'We presently have a net immigration that equates to the population of Wolverhampton or Hull every year,' surprise victor tells conference

Rachel Roberts
Sunday 01 October 2017 14:22 BST
Immigration levels are unacceptable and harming British culture, says new Ukip leader

The UK is being “buried” by Islam and “swamped” by multiculturalism, Ukip’s new leader Henry Bolton has said.

The little-known one-time Liberal Democrat and army officer used his first speech as leader to claim that public services are being overwhelmed by mass immigration.

Following his surprise win over bookies’ favourite and anti-Islam campaigner Anne Marie Waters, Mr Bolton took to the stage at the party conference in Torquay to say he was “proud to be British”.

In a question and answer session, he said people have little say in the way in which their communities are being transformed by immigration.

“We presently have a net immigration that equates to the population of Wolverhampton or Hull every year," he said.

“Immigration is overwhelming our public services, housing and communities.

“Doctors’ surgeries are being closed, police numbers are being cut, and crime is increasing, multiculturalism is swamping or displacing our own British culture.

“This does not create the optimistic, confident nation that we all wish to be.”

He had previously said he wanted the focus of Ukip to shift away from Islam so that it did not become single issue.

But when asked about his comments during the campaign that he was proud of “fighting Islam”, he said: “There is a concern amongst the population writ large that there is an undermining through general immigration and the weight of numbers that we’ve got and Islam as well – that our culture is being buried by this, sort of pushed aside.”

He added: “We will ensure that our schools teach history, and that if people don’t have pride in what their forefathers achieved, they themselves will achieve nothing worthy on the part of their successors.”

But he stopped short of calling for a cap on immigration, which Ukip has previously pledged.

Instead, the party’s fourth leader in the past year called for an Australian-style points based system for those wishing to come to the UK.

He said: “Immigration is overwhelming our public services, which themselves are being slashed – 25 per cent off the police for example, in some cases nearly 50 per cent off local government.

“Housing and communities are being overwhelmed, it is harming our own culture, traditions and way of life.

“We must demand that our own concerns about our own British culture are heard and that feeds into our policy on immigration.”

Speaking to reporters ahead of the speech, Mr Bolton said: “Anybody who says put a figure on (immigration) is actually being entirely unrealistic and trying to paint politicians like me into a corner that gives you a nice thing to hang a comment on, but you're not going to get it from me because actually we need to be a lot more practical and operational about it.”

Prime Minister Theresa May has pledged to cut net migration from the current rate of 246,000 in the year ending March 2017 to “tens of thousands”, with the ending of freedom of movement expected to play a significant factor.

Mr Bolton reaffirmed Ukip’s longstanding call for a so-called “hard Brexit” when he branded the Government’s proposal for a transition period after leaving the EU “unacceptable”.

He mocked Ms May’s Florence speech on Brexit, claiming it gave out the message that “the UK does not want to leave the EU in anything but name.”

And he said the Government’s pledge for post-Brexit partnerships with the EU over foreign policy, defence and security suggest that Britain will remain under the control of Brussels.

“Does any of this suggest to you that we’re on the way out of the European Union?” he asked.

“I can only conclude that the Conservative Government either has no intention of taking us out of the European Union, or that they are simply too incompetent or negligent to care.

“The Government, far from offering strong and stable leadership, has proven inept and unable to set and pursue clear strategic goals.

”We must demand the repeal of the European Communities Act and be prepared to leave now.“

Mr Bolton was endorsed in the leadership contest by former leader Nigel Farage, after 18 of the party’s 20 MEPs threatened to quit if Ms Waters won.

He stood as the Liberal Democrat candidate in the 2005 general election in the Surrey seat of Runneymede and Weybridge, before joining Ukip in 2014. He served in the army for almost 20 years, receiving an OBE in 2013, and was also honoured with an award for bravery during his eight years as a police officer.

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