21 Apr 2014

Ukip criticised over anti-immigration campaign posters

Ukip has come under fire after the party unveiled a series of anti-immigration European election campaign posters that it plans to display in “hundreds” of sites.

Ukip 'anti-immigration' campaign poster

The party’s Economics Spokesman Steven Woolfe released images of the posters on Twitter last night, with the message: “‘EU policy at work’ billboard coming to you soon.”

Ukip’s campaign for European Parliamentary elections, on May 22, has been funded by the Yorkshire businessman and former Tory donor Paul Sykes, who put £1.5m behind the posters.

One of the posters features a picture of a worker in a hard hat and a high-visibility jacket sitting on the pavement with a begging cup in front of him, with the phrase: “EU policy at work. British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour.

“Take back control of our country. Vote Ukip 22nd May.”

Another is a picture of a Union flag, burnt in the middle by an EU flag, with the words: “Who really runs this country?”

A third poster shows a pointing finger next to the words: “26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose jobs are they after?”

The party said it wants to feature the posters on hundreds of sites, with plans to run them over the next four weeks.

Unveiling the posters, the party leader Nigel Farage said: “These posters are a hard-hitting reflection of reality as it is experience by millions of British people struggling to earn a living outside the Westminster bubble. Are we going to ruffle a few feathers among the chattering classes? Yes. Are we bothered about that? Not in the slightest.”

Their campaign provoked anger on Twitter, with some people comparing the party to the British National Party (BNP). Mike Gapes MP said: “Hope Ukip racist posters encourage all decent British Commonwealth and EU citizens to ensure on register by May 6 and vote on May 22.”

Stella Creasy, the MP, added: “Like a toddler kicking off in a public place #ukip gets what they want – a reaction (and so everyone sharing their posters…)”

Dan Hodges, the political commentator, said: “To those people arguing ‘Ukip aren’t a racist party’. What if posters said ‘Africans’ instead of ‘Europeans’.”

While the English playwright and academic Dan Rebellato said: “The day Ukip made voting for them as revolting as voting BNP.”

Meanwhile, anti-Ukip campaigners SLATUKIP have tweeted out a message asking for help to get their own campaign underway to get the new posters taken down.

“Does anyone know where the new #UkipBillboards are located so we can make complaints to ASA?” the group asked.


Ukip refuted claims that the posters were reminiscent of the BNP. A spokesperson said: “It’s nothing to do with the BNP. I can’t see any comparison whatsoever. People always look for things like that, and it’s highly unimaginative.

“No way are [the posters] xenophobic. It’s ridiculous. It’s about how the EU impacts on our daily lives.”

Dean Peris, a prospective parliamentary candidate for Ukip for Upper Gornal and Woodsetton, defended his party’s posters. In response to claims the posters are “xenophobic”, he replied: “How can a question be xenophobic? Read the poster! Open to interpretation.

An ICM poll published yesterday suggested that Ukip are second favourites for the European elections.

The poll suggested that Labour are in first place, with 30 per cent of the vote, while Ukip have 27, and the Tories have 22 per cent.

Yesterday, William Hill said that Ukip are even money favourites to poll most votes at the European elections, ahead of Labour, and the Tories as distant third favourites.