One of the Brexit Party’s newest councillors is a former UKIP parliamentary candidate who once said it was legitimate for people to be scared of immigrants.
Until today, Allen Cowles was the group leader of UKIP on Rotherham council and had stood for the party in both the 2015 and 2017 general elections. However, Cowles has now defected to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party, along with Rotherham’s other 12 UKIP councillors.
Farage partly set up the Brexit Party to be a more professional outfit than his former party, suppressing any divisive, anti-immigrant views. Cowles evidently doesn’t live up to this image.
Speaking to Sky News’ Kay Burley on the campaign trail in 2015, Cowles claimed that immigration was the most important problem in Rotherham, saying:
“I talk to a lot of old people who live near me and they make it quite clear that they are afraid to come into [Rotherham] town centre because they are intimidated by all the foreign nationals that they come across.
“It is a significant issue and it needs to be addressed.”
Earlier in the interview, Cowles was asked if he knew the percentage of people in Rotherham who were immigrants. He guessed 14% – nearly double the actual figure, 8%.
David Cameron once described UKIP as a party full of “fruitcakes”, “loonies” and “closet racists”. The Brexit Party seems to be falling into the same trap.