August 21 2014 Latest news:
Alistair Kleebauer, News Editor
Sunday, March 2, 2014
A rising star in UKIP has reportedly mocked Ilford residents by claiming “you won’t understand what they’re saying”.
Sean Howlett, 21, described as a “fixer” for the anti-EU party, has slated Ilford, according to a national newspaper.
At a reception marking the end of the party’s spring conference, Mr Howlett claimed residents’ accents made it hard to hold a conversation, the Sunday Mirror has reported following an investigation.
He said: “You won’t understand what they’re saying.”
UKIP has targeted Ilford in local and European elections with Hainault councillor Edward Griffin recently defecting from the Conservatives to UKIP, becoming its first representative in Redbridge.
A UKIP member claimed it was banned from an Ilford farmers’ market in December because of “political bias” against the party.
Mr Howlett, who invited a female undercover reporter on board an 80ft motor cruiser docked at Torquay Marina for the reception, also reportedly said Essex had “a lot of Arabs” and “a lot of Afghans”.
When he was told many could be refugees, he said: “Depends what you mean by a refugee.”
Cllr Wes Streeting (Lab, Chadwell), Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Ilford North, said UKIP leader Nigel Farage should visit Ilford and “he won’t have any trouble understanding what I have to say about him and his party’s xenophobic attitudes”.
Cllr Streeting said: “These comments reflect the true face of UKIP. Far from being a plucky protest party, they’re a bunch of backward-looking loudmouths who hold strong and diverse communities like ours in contempt.
“UKIP boast that they are targeting Ilford in the local and European elections. If Nigel Farage expects people around here to even consider voting for his mob, he should apologise for this outrageous slur on our community by one of his leading activists.
“If he wants to pay us a visit, he won’t have any trouble understanding what I have to say to him about his party’s xenophobic attitudes.”
The Mirror also reported that a comic at a gala dinner to mark the end of the party’s conference made offensive jokes about foreigners.
Mr Farage “clapped as Paul Eastwood took swipes at Indians, Muslims and Poles,” it reported.
Referring to the Olympics, Mr Eastwood said, “Poland did well. They took home bronze, silver, gold, lead, copper – anything they could get their hands on,” and “Team Somalia – they did well, didn’t they? They had to apologise. Didn’t realise sailing and shooting were two different events”.
The Telegraph has reported Mr Farage saying he didn’t hear the jokes and left the dinner shortly after the comedian started his set.
It reports Mr Farage saying: “I’m not going to comment on individual jokes, but I think we’re in huge danger here. This was a guy telling jokes about national stereotypes, not racial stereotypes. We are heading down a road here where we would kill all humour in this country if we tear things to pieces.
“Enough is enough, let people tell their jokes. If what they say is inappropriate they won’t earn a living because they won’t get booked again.”
It was not possible to contact UKIP today regarding Mr Howlett’s reported comments.