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Conservative MEP and Times attack "un-British" UKIP

Sajjad Karim, Tory MEP for the Conservatives, has said that UKIP's proposed burkha ban is "un-British". This morning's Times reported that the UK Independence Party wants to ban the burkha and the niqab - "claiming they affront British values."

In an editorial The Times slams UKIP:

"What is inconsistent with British values is picking on people quietly going about their business in religious garb of their own choice and banning it. If UKIP properly understood this country, it would appreciate that. There are Islamists who doubtless wish to ban Eurosceptics wearing tweed jackets over v-neck jumpers and checked shirts. And The Times would defend UKIP against such calls because freedom to worship, and freedom of speech, is the British value that matters above all others."

Mr Karim, a defector from the Liberal Democrats, said this in a press release released on behalf of all Tory MEPs:

"To ban a symbol of someone's faith both in public and private is fundamentally un-British. Our country's tradition of tolerance and multi-culturalism are among its greatest strengths. All UKIP will create is ill-will, greater separation and a feeling that people who do not look like Lord Pearson or Nigel Farage are somehow not truly British. There are genuine concerns about race relations in parts of the UK, but they will only be overcome by mutual understanding, not ignorance."

From day one of his leadership of UKIP Lord Pearson has set out to add scepticism about the Islamification of Britain to UKIP's core theme of Euroscepticism. The tactic is designed to counter the BNP's infiltration of the UKIP vote.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has floated the idea of a burkha ban.

Tim Montgomerie


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