Ukip’s first event of the election campaign has seen the party deny they want to ban beekeepers from wearing protective gear and Paul Nuttall run away from journalists.
The party told reporters it would stand on a platform that included banning the Muslim face veil at a policy announcement in London on Monday - one of a range of policies that Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas condemned as “full-throttled Islamophobia”.
When one journalist asked if this would extend to banning beekeepers from covering their faces, Ukip deputy leader Peter Whittle branded the question “ridiculous”.
After the event, Nuttall hid in a room as journalists stood between him and his exit.
The party leader knew he would be asked whether he planned to stand in the election, just two months after he failed to be elected in the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election.
Clacton MP Douglas Carswell quit the party earlier in the year, meaning it will go into this election with no incumbent MPs.
The party has also seen its support slip as other parties embrace Brexit.
Journalists camped outside the door of the room Nuttall was in, even managing to get a snap of it.
Nuttall eventually emerged and tried to move past the gaggle of journalists, who immediately began shouting to ask whether and where he would stand.
Nuttall said: “The NEC’s meeting at the end of the week, I can’t say anything before that, ok? So let’s kill it dead.”
As journalists clamoured with more questions, he pleaded with them to focus on the policies announced at the event.
As well as the veil ban, the “integration agenda” included annual medical checks for girls at risk of FGM and making grooming a hate crime where the victim was a different race to the perpetrator.
A representative of every paper on Fleet Street followed Nuttall down a corridor repeatedly asking whether he wanted to stand. Nuttall repeatedly said he would not comment before the NEC met.
The Telegraph’s Christopher Hope - who had also asked the beekeeping question - even tried to get into Nuttall’s cab before being pulled away.
As debate on whether Nuttall will stand intensifies, the discussion about who might be affected by a veil ban did the same on Twitter.
Margot Parker, Ukip’s equalities spokeswoman, told the event the veil ban would not stop nuns wearing their habits, because they “don’t cover their face”.