Author: Greg Heffer, political reporter
UKIP have admitted there are “similarities” between the party’s new stance towards Muslim migrants and the policies of US President Donald Trump.
In a new 18-page manifesto, the party are proposing a “security-based screening policy” for migration from “Islamic countries”.
The plan prompted immediate criticism from one of UKIP’s former MEPs, who accused the party of a “dog-whistle approach” towards Muslims.
The new “interim” manifesto, being unveiled at the party’s 25th anniversary conference in Birmingham on Friday, is described by leader Gerard Batten as a means to turn UKIP into a “populist party”.
The manifesto covers 30 different areas of policy, with one area reserved for “combating Islamic literalist and fundamentalist extremism”.
One paragraph states: “UKIP will end mass uncontrolled immigration, and under a security-based screening policy we restrict any limited migration from Islamic countries to those people we can be sure, as far as possible, do not follow a literalist and extremist interpretation of Islam.”
Asked whether the proposal mirrored the stance of Mr Trump, a UKIP spokesman insisted the policy was “entirely homegrown” and would apply to countries such as Iran.
He told Sky News: “Although there are similarities, there has been no conscious aping of the president of America’s policies.”
UKIP also denied the policy represented a “Muslim ban” – as Mr Trump once proposed for the US – with the spokesman adding this was “clear from the wording”.
However, North East England MEP Jonathan Arnott, who quit UKIP months after making an attack on the party’s “anti-Islam messages”, spoke out against the new policy.