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Farage warns Ukip faces ‘utter marginalisation’ if it flirts with the far right

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has warned the party a shift towards the far right would lead to “total and utter marginalisation” (Kirsty O’Connor/PA) Photo: PA Wire/PA Images

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has warned his old party it faces “total and utter marginalisation” if it embraces elements of far right politics.

The prominent Brexiteer said he was “really upset” over suggestions the party could debate allowing former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson to become a member.

On the eve of the party’s conference in Birmingham, Mr Farage told the Press Association: “I’m completely opposed to it.

“I wrote very explicitly into the rules of the party when I first became leader: we did not want anybody in the party that had taints with organisations we deemed to be on the far right of British politics.

“I couldn’t have been clearer. It really upsets me to see the fact this debate is even taking place.”

Ukip leader Gerard Batten was recently criticised by Mr Farage for attending an anti-Muslim rally in Sunderland which descended into violence.

In recent months Mr Batten has spoken out in support of Mr Robinson, a move that reportedly alarmed more moderate members of the party.

Mr Farage continued: “I’m less than impressed with the current direction in which we’re going. It devalues, undermines many of the incredible achievements …

“(Ukip is) in danger now unless it changes direction very, very quickly, of total and utter marginalisation.”

Asked if he had plans to return to the UKIP leadership, Mr Farage said he was focused on Brexit campaigning, but added: “I’ve got my hands full – right at the moment.”

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The long-time Eurosceptic gave his comments after delivering a speech in Westminster about what he said were social media companies’ anti-conservative bias.

During the address, he said: “We cannot allow the whole future political discourse affecting the young people across entire Western world to be held in the hands of two or three people who through their own mouths and utterances have shown themselves not to be politically neutral.

“There is now an absolute mountain of evidence. It is unarguable that since November 2016 (the election of Donald Trump) there’s been a huge shift. There is now a massive bias that has become endemic on social media.”