A senior British Pakistani member of the UK Independence Party says his appointment as an MEP is proof positive that UKIP is not racist.
Amjad Bashir – the Small Business Secretary of the party – was elected an UKIP MEP last night as the euro-sceptic, immigration resistant party was declared the surprise winner in the European Polls last night in what has been described as a “seismic” event in British political history.
Mr Bashir was elected one of three MEP’s representing Yorkshire.
Speaking after being elected, he said: “Here I am, of Asian birth, of Asian parentage, Muslim, and I have been selected by this so-called racist party.
“It disproves that completely.
“The party, in selecting me, I was voted in, it was a democratic process where the whole party nationally voted for me. I got the second highest number of votes and, therefore, I was selected for the area.”
Mr Bashir’s win comes just a week after he was accused of employing illegal immigrants at a restaurant owned by him and his sons.
Seven people were arrested at the Zouk Tea Bar and Grill in Manchester last year prompting Mr Bashir to resign as a director of the company that owned the restaurant.
In October, Bashir attacked former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine, who had called Ukip “racist”, and challenged him to a public debate on the subject.
He said: “Heseltine is a dinosaur. Time to stop this disgusting slur of racism.”
He added: “I’m sick to the back teeth now. The media keep repeating this appalling accusation, thoughtlessly, without any grounding, without any just cause or reason and frankly it’s abhorrent.
“Racism is a very real and deeply serious issue. It is not a word, a plaything, you can use to throw in whatever direction you fancy to undermine people, devaluing what is actually a crucially serious issue that must be treated with the utmost gravity.”
UKIP won nearly a third of votes in the European Election on Sunday tapping into voter disillusionment with Europe and immigration.