UKIP welcomes European anti-immigration parties to its conference

Ukip has been accused of pandering to xenophobia by inviting two prominent figures from European anti-immigration parties to address its annual conference today.

The star speaker will be Timo Soini, the leader of the True Finns, a previously fringe nationalist party which scored a surprise success by coming third in the Finnish general election. Ukip has been attracted by the fiercely Eurosceptic outlook of the party, which tapped into opposition to offering financial support for Mediterranean nations hit by the Eurozone crisis.

But the True Finns have also described immigrants as “parasites on taxpayers’ money” and suggested ethnically Finnish women should study less and spend more time having babies.

Mr Soini will be joined by the MEP Barry Madlener, of the Dutch Freedom Party. Its leader, Geert Wilders, has attacked Islam as a violent religion and compared the Koran to Mein Kampf.

Independent, 9 September 2011

Update:  UKIP reports that Madlener “gave a strong speech on the importance of retaining national identity and received a standing ovation for his inspirational words”.