UK moving to ‘sectarian politics’ with women excluded from inner cities, says Farage

<span>Nigel Farage after the Reform UK press conference in Dover on Tuesday.</span><span>Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA</span>
Nigel Farage after the Reform UK press conference in Dover on Tuesday.Photograph: Andy Rain/EPA

Nigel Farage has said Britain is moving towards “sectarian politics with women completely excluded” in inner cities and towns, as he called for rising levels of Channel crossings to be declared a “national security emergency”.

Reform UK’s honorary president also defended comments he made on Sunday saying a growing number of Muslims do not share British values, and rejected accusations over the years that he had used antisemitic and Islamophobic dog whistles.

“I talked over the course of the weekend to [Sky News presenter] Trevor Phillips, about the small but worryingly growing number of young men, predominantly young men in this country, adopting radical views, views that aren’t just un-British, but views that frankly are extremely anti-British.”

Related: Nigel Farage under fire after saying Muslims do not share British values

Speaking at the Royal Cinque Ports Yacht Club in Dover, Farage added: “You might have noticed that Angela Rayner yesterday was campaigning in her constituency, begging, begging a group of Muslim leaders to please vote Labour, you will have noticed not a single woman in the room.

“So we’re moving into an age in our inner cities and towns, I’m afraid, I’m worried to say, of sectarian politics with women completely excluded.”

He went further as he said British Muslims “who are working, paying their taxes, wanting their kids to do well, it’s them that are perhaps going to be the worst affected by this if this current unpleasant trend continues”.

Following his speech, a BBC News presenter apologised after she accused Farage of using “customary inflammatory language”.

Geeta Guru-murthy made the comment after a clip of Farage speaking at the Dover event was shown on the news channel, before later apologising and saying this “didn’t meet the BBC’s editorial standards on impartiality”.

Live on air, Guru-murthy said: “Earlier today we heard live from Nigel Farage, speaking at that election event we just saw.

“When we came away from his live speech, I used language to describe it which didn’t meet the BBC’s editorial standards on impartiality. I’d like to apologise to Farage and viewers for this.”

In a post on X, Farage tagged the presenter and asked: “What happened to impartiality?”

Farage said he had been “ahead of the curve” by describing rising migration levels as an “invasion” after 2010, as “3,800 boats later, 125,000 people later, I think invasion frankly was pretty appropriate”.

His appearance in Dover on Tuesday marked his first intervention of the election campaign. He used the event to appeal to the electorate, saying that a vote for the Conservative party was a “wasted vote”.

“This election is a foregone conclusion. Labour are going to win and they’re going to win quite big,” he said.

“And therefore you could argue, actually, that a vote for the Conservative party is a wasted vote.

“And given that, you know, Labour are going to win, why not vote for something that you actually believe in?”

When asked by the Guardian why voters should trust him when he had been accused of using antisemitic and Islamophobic dog whistles, he replied: “How can I be antisemitic and Islamophobic at the same time?” before adding: “When you dare to say anything that’s not the prevailing orthodox view you’re written off as being mad and bad. I don’t hold any of those negative motives.”

The Conservatives face huge losses in red wall seats, he said after his speech, as voters feel “totally let down”.

“It’s not just immigration, it’s self-employed, small business owners, feeling like Brexit should have brought some easing of the rules and in some cases, the rules have actually got worse,” he added.

Farage said Britain should be prepared to use the Royal Marines to force France to take migrants back instead of “escorting” them across the Channel to the UK.

“The escorting by the French navy is aiding and abetting criminal trafficking and if the French won’t cooperate, well, we may have to use the Royal Marines and send some people back to the beaches of France.

“I hope it never gets to that, but it may have to come to that. We’ve given them a vast sum of money, it is not working, and the French navy should not be doing what it’s doing.”