Nigel Farage speaks at UKIP's Spring Conference in Torquay earlier today. Photograph: Getty Images.
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UKIP tries to remove journalists from fringe meeting on sharia law

"How can you be both a Muslim and an English man?" asks activist at meeting the party tried to keep reporters out of.

UKIP has long prided itself on its commitment to "free speech" and open debate, but it seems the party isn't prepared to practice what it preaches. There was outrage among journalists at the party's Spring Conference today when officials attempted to remove them from a fringe meeting on sharia law. The Telegraph's Christopher Hope tweeted: "Ukip security has tried to remove the @Telegraph from a fringe meeting on Sharia law. I have refused to move. Outragous." Those journalists who had taken their seats were eventually told that they could stay ("if you behave") but others were reportedly turned away at the door. 

It doesn't require much imagination to guess why UKIP wanted to keep journalists out of the fringe meeting. A session on sharia law could well expose views of the kind that Nigel Farage insists are not tolerated, or even not present, in his party. Indeed, the first question was "How can you be both a Muslim and an English man?" 

Farage declared in his speech today: "We’ve had one or two bad people - we’ve got rid of them." But his officials' anxiousness suggests plenty of rotten apples remain. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Word of the week: Owened

Each week The Staggers will pick a new word to describe our uncharted political and socioeconomic territory. 

 

In a week where Jeremy Corbyn won the Labour leadership election for a second time, the word of the week is:

Owened (verb)

To be totally publicly humiliated.

Origin:

Jonn Elledge

Usage: 

"LOL, Owened."

"Corbyn totally Owened Smith when it came to the Isis question."

"You thought you'd win, but you were Owened."

Articles to read if you got Owened:

Do you have a suggestion for next week's word? Share it in the form below.