The Ukip MEP Mike Hookem has resigned as party whip after the anti-Islam candidate Anne Marie Waters was allowed to stand for the party’s leadership.
Mr Hookem, who is deputy whip in the European parliament, was incensed by the support of the chief whip, Stuart Agnew, for Ms Waters, the 39-year-old founder of Sharia Watch.
“I strongly disagree with the views of Ms Waters and Mr Agnew,” Mr Hookem said, “and I would like to put as much distance between me and them as possible.
Yorkshire UKIP MEP Mike Hookem quits as party whip over anti-Islam candidate
A senior Ukip MEP has quit his post as a party whip after a controversial anti-Islam campaigner was cleared to stand in the party’s leadership election.
Anne Marie Waters: Anti-Islam candidate to stand for UKIP leadership
An anti-Islam candidate has been allowed to stand for the UKIP leadership.
Anne Marie Waters, a former Labour activist and founder of the Sharia Watch pressure group, has previously called Islam “evil”.
Her leadership bid has split the party, with some MEPs threatening to quit if she was allowed into the race.
But the UKIP National Executive Committee, which vets all would-be candidates, has allowed her to stand.
The other candidates to replace Paul Nuttall – who stood down after UKIP’s poor performance in June’s general election – are:
- Henry Bolton
- David Coburn
- Jane Collins
- David Kurten
- Marion Mason
- Aidan Powlesland
- John Rees-Evans
- Ben Walker
- Anne Marie Waters
- Peter Whittle
- David Allen
UKIP ‘anti-Islam’ leadership candidate threatens to split party, as senior official quits in protest
UKIP’s decision to allow an ‘anti-Islam’ campaigner onto the leadership ballot has threatened to split the party in two, with a number of high-profile members threatening to quit if she wins the race to succeed Paul Nuttall.
The selection of Anne Marie Waters, who founded the Sharia Watch pressure group, has polarised the party, with former leader Nigel Farage warning that UKIP will be “finished” if it places Islam at the heart of its agenda.
Other UKIP members are understood to share Mr Farage’s concerns, with several pointing to Paul Nuttall’s divisive ‘burka ban’ during the general election as evidence that anti-Islamic policies are harming the party’s fortunes.