Brexit Party MEP: ‘There are more racists in the Remain camp than the Brexit camp’

Times writer Oliver Kamm and Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib debate if the party is racist. Photograph: S

Times writer Oliver Kamm and Brexit Party MEP Ben Habib debate if the party is racist. Photograph: Sky News. - Credit: Archant

A Brexit Party MEP has claimed that there are more racists in the Remain camp than there are in the Brexit camp.

Ben Habib, who recently blamed Remainers for the drop in the pound, was debating with Times writer Oliver Kamm about evidence of racism within the Brexit Party.

Kamm's newspaper had just revealed that a closed Facebook group used by Brexit Party supporters was rife with Islamophobic and racist comments, and had been closed down by the social media giant after the reports came to light.

In the group were newly-announced prospective parliamentary candidates, and those responsible for attempting to mobilise activity for campaigning in the recent by-elections.

A social media spat between Kamm and Habib over this story overspilled on to television, as the pair continued to debate on the Kay Burley programme on Sky News.

It was just during this debate that the Brexit Party MEP continued to refute claims there was any signs of racism within his organisation.

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But Kamm pointed out that the MEP had more of an issue with the Times' report on the facts rather than the vile comments in the Facebook group.

He said: "Mr Habib sent me a message on social media publicly this morning describing it as 'rechid', the 'lowest of the low'. It will astonish viewers as it does me that he wasn't referring to these appalling racist comments, but the Times newspaper for reporting the fact."

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Kamm added he was "astonished" that Habib appeared to have "no self-respect or sense of diginity or shame" by going on-air to defend his party following the news story. He summised that it must mean supporters "know it's true" the organisation is racist and that their defence is because "they want to hide it".

Habib, on the other hand, said the party had a range of diverse candidates and supporters and could not possibly be racist, and said that the journalist was using the attack line to try to "rubbish Brexit by rubbishing the Brexit Party and therefore promoting his Remain arguments".

He then went on to make an amazing claim by stating "I suspect there are more racists in among the Remain lot than the Brexit lot."

The MEP added the journalist was the "lowest form of debate in the public domain" and said: "Frankly if I was the editor of the Times I wouldn't give him five more minutes in my employment."

Habib claimed that Kamm was "rowing back" on his argument by talking about Brexit Party supporters rather than comments made by representatives, despite the reporter reminding the MEP of Nigel Farage's past comments and actions, and comments the Brexit Party's founders made on social media.

In the interview Habib claimed that the four MEPs had been dismissed for their involvement with the Facebook group, but later took to Twitter to admit they had not been.

He tweeted: "No PPCs have been dismissed, as they said nothing wrong, in a group with no links to the Brexit Party. They are not responsible for a tiny minority of bigots".

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