Express & Star

Bill Etheridge in running for UKIP deputy role

Bill Etheridge has been unveiled as the running mate of a controversial UKIP leadership hopeful who believes Remain voters were 'indoctrinated' by state school education.

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John Rees-Evans

West Midlands UKIP MEP and Dudley councillor Mr Etheridge revealed he is backing John Rees-Evans yesterday after previously dropping out of the party's leadership contest himself.

At a press conference at Molineux, Mr Rees-Evans said Mr Etheridge would become the party's deputy leader if he won the contest in September.

Mr Rees-Evans faced criticism after it was reported he proposed paying British Indians up to £9,000 to move to India.

But yesterday he said his proposal had been 'misconstrued' by the 'dishonest' and 'corrupt' mainstream media, saying anyone in Britain who wanted to set up an exporting business abroad would be paid to move under the scheme.

He said: "In 2005 I thought I had great business ideas but looked around the UK and saw masses of red tape and that it would take years to bring about my opportunities, so I looked abroad.

"I went to Tanzania and my father did the same thing in the 1970s, moving to South Africa. The fact that most of the media has tried to allege that I am specifically targetting one group is frankly absurd because those examples closest to my heart are myself and my father. It is ludicrous and dishonest to allege that I was referring to any one ethnic group."

Speaking to the Express & Star, Mr Rees-Evans said 'many' elected politicians and journalists were his 'enemies' and 'corrupt'.

He also said the young people who voted for Britain to stay in the EU had been 'indoctrinated' by 'state education' and vowed to start his own news channel, UKIP Media.

He said: "I'm pushing this idea that the British people should be in control of their destiny. Anyone who stands in the way of the will of ordinary British people being able to determine their future democratically are our enemies and in real terms that is much of the political class and most of the mainstream media.

"Most journalists I see are the mouthpiece of the Establishment who want to maintain the status quo and who identify anti-establishment parties like UKIP as a threat."

Asked if politicians were corrupt, he said: "Most of them, yes. I believe most of them are – not because they are evil people but because it is an evil system."

Speaking to party members he was asked how UKIP could attract young Remain voters.

He said: "If you look at the reason why young people tend to be 'Remoaners' it is largely because they have just been indoctrinated over many years in education, largely state-controlled education, to believe things they have been indoctrinated to teach. What we need to do is to reverse the negative impact of that kind of education."

He added: "Using the proposal I have set out for UKIP Media we can produce high quality video, disseminate that on social media, and begin to erode these attitudes based on false premises, and we will turn these people to our side."

Mr Etheridge said he dropped out of the leadership contest, hoping all 'libertarian' candidates would unite to defeat 'extreme' contenders.

He said he had done much 'soul searching' before deciding to back Mr Rees-Evans.

He said: "I have looked at all the candidates and one person has stood out.

"One person for me has shown character, courage, and conviction.

"Don't get me wrong, this person has had his run-ins with the media in the past but as a person he is honest and sincere.

"If we give this guy a chance I believe we will be within a chance of challenging for seats in Westminster."

In total 10 candidates are fighting to be UKIP leader.