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General Election: I'm like Gandhi, says UKIP leader Paul Nuttall in Wolverhampton

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UKIP leader Paul Nuttall has compared himself to Mahatma Gandhi, saying his party is attacked because it is '10 years ahead' of its political rivals.

Mr Nuttall hit out at critics who 'trivialised' or 'sniggered' at UKIP's integration policies which would see face coverings such as the burka banned and the introduction of school checks on girls vulnerable to female genital mutilation (FGM) .

In an exclusive interview with the Express & Star he said: "Raising issues of equality, women's rights, and FGM are the issues other parties don't want to tackle.

Paul Nuttall was speaking to the Express & Star at Wolverhampton Racecourse

"UKIP will lead on these and as I said in our press conference I feel as if we are a decade ahead of our time – a bit like we were a decade ahead of our time on getting out of the EU, and on mass immigration.

"We led the debate on those issues and we will lead on these.

"It is a bit like the Gandhi thing – first they laugh at you, then they attack you, and then you win.

Civil rights campaigner Mahatma Gandhi

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"Unfortunately on this issue we seem be on the laughing or the mocking phase which I think is wrong as I feel the issues we raised were so important."

Speaking before meeting party members at Wolverhampton Racecourse, he:

  • Vowed UKIP would not stand candidates in Tory or Labour seats held by ‘real Brexiteers’
  • Promised to fight hard in UKIP strongholds such as Dudley North and Walsall North even if it meant splitting the vote and letting in pro-Remain candidates
  • Urged Leave voters in Wolverhampton to vote UKIP to oust incumbent pro-EU MPs
  • Said the party was not suffering under his leadership or as a result of Nigel Farage stepping down.

But the former UKIP chairman would not put a figure on how many seats at the General Election were winnable for the party.

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He said: "I have made it clear that in certain areas I want UKIP to put country before party and put real Brexiteers – people who have campaigned for Brexit all their lives not fly-by-night Brexiteers – particularly if they have slender majorities in danger."

  • Click here to read the full Paul Nuttall interview
  • POLL: Do you agree with the UKIP plan to ban face coverings in public?

In a pitch to Leave voters and taking aim at Wolverhampton North East and Wolverhampton South East Labour MPs Emma Reynolds and Pat McFadden, he said: "Vote for your UKIP candidate because we have the track record on this.

"If you voted Leave in the referendum and you have a Remain MP you can be sure that your UKIP candidate can stand up for what you believe in."

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