The far-right, anti-immigration UK Independence Party is set to announce a ban on burqas in public places in its manifesto pledge for the June 8 general election. As part of a so-called “integration agenda” to be unveiled tomorrow, party leader Paul Nuttall will also vow to outlaw Sharia law to prevent any Sharia courts operating in Britain. The party wants to put Britain in line with France, Belgium and Bulgaria where the burqa – which covers the entire body including the face – is outlawed, according to the Sun newspaper.
Nuttall believes garments such as the burqa are a barrier to social harmony and a security risk. Under their plans, people with evidence of female genital mutilation will be bound by law to inform police. UKIP will also call for postal voting to be abolished for most citizens amid fears it is being used for electoral fraud. The sweeping measures have been drawn up by the party’s deputy leader and culture spokesperson Peter Whittle.
Whittle said: “We are the party that speaks up about the threat we face from Islamism from without and within, at a time when the established parties are mute either from fear, denial or sheer cowardice”. The new pledges come as the party faces an existential crisis of explaining to voters why it remains relevant after Britain voted to leave the EU last year – the very purpose it was created for.
The party’s support has dropped from close to 13 per cent in the 2015 general election to around 7 per cent, according to recent polls. It has also been dogged by a string of public showdowns between prominent figures and high profile resignations, including its only MP in the House of Commons Douglas Carswell.