Transcript of BBC Radio 4, ‘The World at One’, Interview with Gerard Batten, 23 November 2018, 1.34pm
MARK MARDELL: Gerard Batten is the leader of UKIP who made that appointment. Earlier, I spoke to him and asked him what he thought of Tommy Robinson.
GERARD BATTEN: What do I think of him? Well, I mean, I think he's very courageous. He's very brave in what he does. He stands up for these victims of industrialised sexual abuse, and by and large, I think he does positive things.
MM: He once said, "I'd personally send out every adult male Muslim that's come into the EU over the past 12 months back tomorrow if I could". Do you agree with that?
GB: I don't know where he said. I've never seen that quote. I certainly wouldn't agree with him, and I don't think he'd take that view now. Lots of people say things in their youth which they then regret and retract from later. As I say, I've no idea whether that quote is true or not. I'll have to ask him about that. But that's certainly not his view now.
MM: He once stood in front of a Manchester suburb and said, "Inside these are enemy combatants. In these houses, in these houses. are enemy combatants who want to kill you, maim you and destroy you."
GB: Well, if he was referring to some of the terrorists who live in those places they certainly know that to be true, don't we, because we've had so many instances of it? That is not to say, and I'm sure he didn't mean that and I certainly would never cast that aspersion that that is true of all Muslims, not at all.
MM: You know his background, and what does his appointment signal about the party. the party you lead?
GB: Well, I'm asked Tommy to be a personal special adviser. He is not a member of the party, doesn't need to be, and he is going to help me organise this Brexit Betrayal Rally on 9 December...
MM: (interrupting) But what signal does it send?
GB: What it signals to a lot of people out there is that they can come and support us. We want, I want, to build a mass movement that appeals to ordinary working class people. Membership has been going up under my leadership, money has been coming in. We want to send a signal out that we want ordinary decent working class people who are fed up with what's happening in this country over Brexit,, over other things, and to come and join us and help us...
MM: (interrupting) The sort of people who in the past supported the English Defence League? Those sort of people?
GB: Well, we all know that in our party we have prescribed list and you cannot become a member of our party if you were formerly a BNP on National Front or EDL - although the EDL never had members, so it would be a bit difficult to prove who they were. We vet people who come in...
MM: (interrupting) Do you want the sort of people who supported their policies, their ideas, to join you?
GB: I want people who are patriotic, who believe in this country, who want to leave the European Union and who want to live under their own constitution, their own laws and their own political system...
MM: (interrupting) Are racists welcome?
GB: No, they're not, and they never have been and they never will be.
MM: You see, Nigel Farage said this morning that it goes against everything that he tried to do in the party, that he wants to talk about Islam, wants to talk about immigration, but it's a non-racist party, and what you've done blows a hole in all of that.
GB: No, it doesn't, and I'm amazed that Nigel is so concerned about this party now. He's done nothing to support UKIP in the last two years...
MM: (interrupting) But deal with the point.
GB: He has said that he will give 100% of his effort to Leave Means Leave, which is a cross-party organisation...
MM: (interrupting) Yes, but deal with his point.
GB: ... which leaves 0% for UKIP. And this is not taking the party in a wrong direction because he knows me, and he's known me for 26 years, he knows what kind of person I am.
MM: Something has happened, hasn't it? I mean, one of the MEP's who's quit the party recently said that you become 'a vehicle of hate'.
GB: Oh, that's nonsense. And who was that by the way?
MM: Bill Etheridge.
GB: Well, yeah, I wouldn't rate Bill's opinions about very much very highly I must say...
MM: (interrupting) Well, he was a UKIP MEP.
GB: Well, he wasn't one of my spokesman because I didn't rate him highly enough to give him that job.
MM: You've welcomed in an anti-feminist online activist who repeatedly used the N-word. Do you welcome...?
GB: Well, you're probably referring to our internet warrior people that have come on recently. Add we believe in free speech. If he said that he's not using it against those people. He's re-quoting something I guess. And we actually believe in free speech. That doesn't mean to say that we don't approach...that we approve of everything that people say because we don't. But a lot of people out there feel that free speech is being eroded and that people have a right to say things within the law.
MM: Have you taken the party in a new direction, further towards what some people would label the extremes?
GB: Well, no. I'm taking the party in a new direction, which is I want to make it a mass movement. I want us to be the party that represents ordinary working people, the unemployed who'd like a job if they could get one, and small business owners. I want a party for ordinary people.