Tommy Robinson’s UKIP appointment is a demonstration of “overt” racism in the party, according to broadcaster Patrick Christys.
The former EDL frontman was appointed to be UKIP leader Gerard Batten’s advisor on rape gangs and prison reform, prompting Nigel Farage to call for a vote of no confidence in Batten.
Mr Christys, who was discussing the issue with Novara Media’s Michael Walker, along with talkRADIO’s Dan Wootton, said it was not a good look for the party.
“I do really think this just demonstrates actually that there is an undercurrent, not this subtle level of racism that’s been levelled at UKIP in the past, I think you could argue that this is much more overt,” Mr Christys said.
Batten approached the previous UKIP leader, Henry Bolton, asking for a position as the party’s anti-Islam spokesman, according to Mr Christys.
He added: “That obviously implies that there is an undercurrent there of, broadly speaking, anti-Islamic sentiment.”
A 'hate-filled message'
Mr Walker said UKIP were struggling to regain relevance in British politics after the Brexit referendum robbed them of their raison d’être.
“They could have been the party of hard Brexit and tried to, sort of, keep criticising the Tories for having betrayed the Leave vote, or they could have gone down the anti-Islam route, and it’s clear that that’s the one that Gerard Batten has chosen,” Mr Walker said.
He added: “If UKIP goes in this direction, that gives them a platform, it gives them a hate-filled message they can sell to people.”
Batten has led the party since February this year, after Henry Bolton was forced to resign after racist comments made by his then-girlfriend.
He was tasked by the party to rebuild its membership and increase its funding after UKIP came close to declaring bankruptcy.
Mr Christys said UKIP could surge and even win seats if they managed to orientate themselves as the party of hard Brexit, and take a stronger stance on radical Islam, but were unlikely to do so under Batten’s leadership.
He said it made sense for Farage to call for Batten’s removal, but he thought it unlikely that Farage would return to the leadership himself.
He added: “I don’t think he wants it anymore, its not really worth his while.”
Words by Cormac Connelly-Smith