Fury as far-right former Pergida member who called Islam ‘evil’ is allowed to stand as Ukip party leader

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THE next leader of Ukip could soon be a proud Islamophobe who founded an anti-Islam pressure group – as the party announces its candidate list.

Anne Marie Waters is one of 11 people cleared to stand by the Ukip national executive committee.

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The 39-year-old is founder of the Sharia Watch pressure group who has called Islam “evil”.

Her candidacy has divided the party, with some members threatening to quit if she wins the race to succeed Paul Nuttall.

Former leader Nigel Farage has warned Ukip will be “finished” if it goes down the road of becoming an anti-Islam party.

Waters began her political life as a Labour supporter before twice standing unsuccessfully to become a parliamentary candidate.

She left the party in 2013 over concerns the party was heading too far to the left.

She now refuses to ever support Labour again, after accusing it of “betraying” the country over its refusal to oppose Islam.

The now right-winger helped to establish Pegida UK, an anti-Islam protest movement which staged a silent march in Birmingham last year alongside the former English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson.

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Waters is founder of the Sharia Watch pressure group and has called Islam ‘evil’[/caption]

The favourite to win the leadership contest is Peter Whittle, Ukip’s current deputy leader.

He has called for the growth of Islamic Sharia courts in Britain to be curtailed.

Whittle told BBC Radio 4: “Ukip has always been a party that does talk about issues that other people do not like to talk about,” he said.

“There are at least 80 courts that we know about. The problem is that the people who suffer the most in these courts tend to be women because they are often about domestic issues and often women who go before the courts don’t actually know their rights as a British woman.

“There has got to be one legal system. Certain things happen in Sharia courts which do go against the spirit of our laws.”

Other candidates approved to stand in the election include Ukip deputy leader Peter Whittle, MEPs David Coburn and Jane Collins, and London Assembly member David Kurten.

The contest was triggered by Mr Nuttall’s decision to stand down following the collapse of the party’s vote in the general election in June.

Ballot papers will be issued on September 1 and the new leader will be announced at Ukip’s conference in Torquay on September 29.

The full list of candidates is: David Allen, Henry Bolton, David Coburn, Jane Collins, David Kurten, Marion Mason, Aidan Powlesland, John Rees-Evans, Ben Walker, Anne Marie Waters and Peter Whittle.

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