Nigel Farage’s confusion on sex education is just the latest in a series of Ukip policy flip-flops
Ukip has once again had to clarify party policy after Nigel Farage appeared to disown the position held by his deputy Paul Nuttall that sex education should be scrapped for primary school children.
Speaking in an ITV debate with young voters, the Ukip leader said:
I have never advocated that policy … I know there was a debate about sex education for four-year-olds and whether that was appropriate, but I don’t think the age 11 was ever mentioned.
This was a somewhat strange revelation given the fact Nuttall announced the policy at Ukip's conference in Doncaster, and it remains on the Ukip website. Farage later clarified that he had missed Nuttall's speech and that it was party policy to scrap the course for younger children.
This is far from the first policy morass Ukip has found itself in. At the start of the year Farage claimed he didn't even read the party's 2010 manifesto because it was "drivel".
Ukip's policy confusion seems to have become a recurring event, with shifts and clarifications being made on a host of issues since the party began its rapid rise in the polls.
Here are Ukip's most prominent policy reversals and clarifications:
During the Rochester and Strood by-election, Mark Reckless suggested European migrants could be asked to leave the country under Ukip's immigration policy.
The party quickly distanced itself from the remarks saying "It is absolutely not our policy to round up EU migrants and put them on a boat at Dover and send them back to wherever they came from". Reckless was left bruised by the incident saying the policy "changed" and he was "sore" about how he came out of the episode.
Ukip's current policy is to maintain the status quo funding model for the NHS and continue healthcare delivery free at the point of use. However, it wasn't always thus, with senior party figures such as Nuttall and Farage previously suggesting the NHS is ready for radical reform. The 2010 Ukip manifesto pledged to create "Health Credit Vouchers" which would allow patients to opt out of the NHS.
Nuttall has written in the past
I would like to congratulate the coalition government for bringing a whiff of privatisation into the beleaguered National Health Service.
In 2012, Farage told a meeting of Ukip supporters that NHS may have to move toward an insurance-based system.
Ukip's previous commitment to a flat tax had made it an attractive prospect for some free marketeers, but as soon as Ukip gained in popularity and media scrutiny the policy changed to having two income tax bands. This was also abandoned in favor of maintaining three tax bands.
At Ukip's conference in Doncaster the party's economic spokesman, Patrick O'Flynn, suggested the policy of a special tax on luxury goods such as expensive shoes or handbags. However, the policy was disowned within 48 hours by Farage.