Anti-racism protesters stormed UKIP’s official general election launch, leaving half of the journalists attending locked outside.
The group, from Stand Up To Racism, got into the room where party leader Paul Nuttall was set to kick off the party’s campaign at a hotel in Westminster.
Carrying placards, they said they were there because they were concerned about the ‘rise in racist attacks’ since the Brexit vote.
Hotel security staff placed a corner of the hotel on lockdown and police were called, meaning many attending were unable to get into the launch event itself.
A Muslim woman was among those quickly ushered from the room in front of reporters, after branding the party ‘racist’.
It was an unwelcome disruption for Nuttall, who is tasked with defending the party’s fall in support in recent opinion polls, as well as its ‘integration agenda’- which includes a ban on face coverings such as the burqa, as well as a plan for mandatory medical checks on girls deemed to be at risk of female genital mutilation.
Earlier this week, UKIP MEP James Carver resigned from his foreign affairs spokesperson role over the party’s plans to ban the Muslim veil.
In his speech today, recently-elected leader Nuttall said this would be a ‘Brexit election’.
“We are not convinced that the prime minister who campaigned to remain, in the referendum, will get the deal that the British people want,” he added.
“She is already beginning to backslide on immigration, with the government now telling us that immigration will run at today’s level for the next decade. She has said nothing to guarantee our waters and protect our fishermen. And she will not rule out paying a huge divorce bill once we have left the European Union.
“UKIP goes into this snap election determined to hold this government’s feet to the fire on Brexit. We will act as the government backbone in these negotiations.”
Merseyside-born Nuttall confirmed he will stand to be an MP yesterday, but is yet to reveal which seat he will contest. Reports suggest Boston and Skegness could be a likely target.