28 Feb 2015

Nigel Farage: Ukip open to everyone

Nigel Farage defends Ukip’s popular appeal, as transsexual and former boxing promoter Kellie Maloney receives a standing ovation after an emotional speech at the party’s spring conference.

“This party is open to everyone. Our only pride, our only prejudice is that we are patriotic.”

And so Ukip leader Nigel Farage wound up his party’s spring conference, saying the political grouping was “far, far from a one-man band” and praising the “enduring” support from fellow activists.

“Over the years we have been underestimated by all the media and all the commentators and let me tell you something, they are underestimating the power of this party,” he added.

“We will once again surprise everybody, we will put enough MPs in to Westminster to make a difference and be in a position of power.”

“I know that we are in for a rough tough 67 days, but the prize is very very great. I am determined to lead us to a big success on May 7.”

Mr Farage’s closing words followed a speech by transsexual and former boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, who received a standing ovation after an emotional speech.

‘I made a terrible mistake’

She was close to tears as she read a poem about a transsexual who committed suicide, and was praised by leader Nigel Farage as proof that the party was “open to everyone”.

A long-time Ukip supporter, she started her speech by apologising for homophobic comments she made while standing to become London Mayor in 2004 – 10 years before she announced she was transitioning genders.

At the time, the high-profile promoter said she would not campaign in Camden because there were “too many gays”.

But Ms Maloney told the conference: “I have learned to say sorry and apologise if I am wrong.

“I made a terrible mistake in 2004 when I made a derogatory remark about the gay community, and to them I apologise.

“I had to come to terms with myself and accept that I was a transsexual. It is something I hid and something I fought.”

Ms Maloney was warmly received by Ukip members as she said she hoped to help people understand more about transsexual issues.