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UKIP launch manifesto calling for zero net migration and burkha bans

UKIP launched their general election manifesto yesterday, unveiling a document that ranged from the unusual to the unpleasant. Their main pitch is unsurprisingly around Brexit, with the party returning to its role of yesteryear, acting as outriders to the Conservative party, rather than challengers to their dominance on the political right. With May’s calculated pitch to Brexit voters having all but squeezed UKIP out, and the party led by a deeply unpopular charlatan in Paul Nuttall, it remains to be seen what their purpose is.

Nuttall told a press conference that “It is not good enough to light candles and proclaim that extremists will not beat us. Action is required on multiple fronts.” That was immediately followed by controversy as donor Aaron Banks called for ‘internment’, with the support of UKIP MEP Roger Helmer.

Suzanne Evans, who appeared on the Daily Politics, later said immigrants would have to pass a “social attitudes test” to show they accept equality for women and gay people.

A major plank of UKIP’s election pitch, the net migration target, has been widely pilloried by experts. Marley Morris, Senior Research Fellow at the IPPR, said that:

EU nationals play a key role in certain sectors of the economy – from the 60,000 workers in the NHS to the further 80,000 workers in social care. Our research has found that these workers are also concentrated in less well-known critical sectors such as food manufacturing, accommodation, and warehousing.

Some of the more unusual policies include:

  • Banning the EU flag being flown from public buildings
  • Boost vitamin D intake by banning the burkha
  • Claiming the 2008 Climate Change Act has ‘no basis in science’
  • Fishing a 200-mile zone around Britain’s coast, which would potentially include Amsterdam’s canals.
  • Restore the blue British passport

Latest polling has the party around 2% – well below the 13% they secured in 2015. UKIP lost almost all the council seats it contested last month, and will almost certainly lose its sole parliamentary seat of Clacton-on-Sea, with Douglas Carswell standing down.

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