UK

Ukip Promises 'Senior Member' From Far Right AfD Will Address Its Torquay Conference

'Blimey'.

25/09/2017 15:40 BST | Updated 25/09/2017 16:46 BST

A “senior member” of the German far right AfD party will address Ukip’s conference, the party has announced, as ties between the two grow stronger.

The AfD will send someone to address the Torquar event on Friday, Ukip said, just before the party announces its new leader, amid fears it could be the hardline, anti-Islam candidate Anne Marie Waters.

AfD won 12.6 percent of the vote on Sunday and stands to take around 90 seats in the Bundestag, the first far right party to reach the national parliament since 1945.

An AfD official’s visit would follow ex-Ukip leader Nigel Farage travelling to Germany to address the AfD members earlier this month, when he praised their imminent “historic achievement”. 

Sean Gallup via Getty Images
Nigel Farage meets leading AfD member Beatrix von Storch on September 8. Ukip has not named the 'senior official' from AfD who will address its conference

Ukip announced the AfD’s appearance in an email to those accredited to attend the conference.

It listed the guest speakers included “a senior member of the AfD who as you know have just broken through into the Bundestag”.

“This we believe will be the first major appearance of the breakthrough Eurosceptic party in the UK since the German Federal Elections. A must see moment for all students of European politics,” the email added.

The AfD’s manifesto includes commitments to win the “culture war” between Islam and the West and a warning that campaigns for equal pay for women are “propaganda” against the traditional family.

The AfD was thrown into disarray immediately after the result when party chairwoman Frauke Petry announced she would not join the party’s parliamentary faction and walked out of a press conference, leaving her more hardline colleagues stunned.

The news about the AfD official addressing Ukip’s conference prompted keen observers to react, with the word “blimey”.

One journalist said it showed the links between the parties were “increasingly cosy”.

Ukip has already congratulated the AfD on its electoral success.

Interim leader Steve Crowther said: “Like Ukip, the AfD offers a balancing force within its national politics which has been skewed towards the centre-left consensus.

“This is a brave move in Germany, whose politics has been overshadowed by the Nazi era. It shows that the people are no longer prepared to be ignored and coerced by the liberal left.”

He added: “Once again, the elites are learning that democracy actually means listening to the majority, no matter how much they despise their vulgar attitudes.”

Waters is one of two favourites to win the Ukip leadership, along with deputy leader Peter Whittle.

She recently became the bookies’ favourite. If she won, many would likely quit in response. Farage is reportedly considering launching a new pro-Brexit party if she does.

Ole Jensen via Getty Images
Anne Marie Waters, a former deputy leader of Pegida UK, is one of the two favourites to win the Ukip leadership, along with deputy leader Peter Whittle

Ukip’s new leader will be announced between 4.15pm and 5.15pm on Friday, the party said.

In the email to potential attendees, it noted this is when the sun is forecast to start shining.

“An apt piece of meteorological happenstance as I am sure you will all agree,” it said.

The AfD member is due to speak earlier that afternoon.

The party did not respond to requests for comment.