Ukip launches its campaign: "We are not at war with Muslims"

 
Helen Cahill
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Ukip has faced criticism for its policy to ban the burka (Source: Getty)

Launching Ukip's General Election campaign this morning, the party's leader Paul Nuttall has confirmed he will stand for election as an MP, adding: "We are not at war with Muslims".

Speaking on the BBC's Today Programme, Nuttall said he will not be campaigning in seats contested by "real Brexiteers" from other parties, in a bid to ensure the UK's exit from the European Union.

Read more: Ukip leader to make second Westminster attempt in five months

"Ukip will be standing in the vast majority of the country, but in a small number of seats where you have real Brexiteers of all political affiliations sitting on slender majorities, I think it would be best if the Ukip branches stood aside to allow them a free ride to get back into the House of Commons," he said.

The party has been criticised from within its own ranks for its plans to ban the burka. Its foreign affairs spokesperson, West Midlands MEP James Carver, resigned this week, saying the policy was "misguided" and amounted to an infringement of civil liberties.

Read more: This election could herald the end of Ukip

Today, Nuttall appeared keen to address concerns about his party's attitudes towards Muslims, telling the BBC: "We want to see integration".

"If you really want to really enjoy the full fruits of British society to you to show your face," he said. "I'll give you an example: 58 per cent of Muslim women in Britain are economically inactive. If you aren't prepared to show your face it precludes you from lots of streams of employment."

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