Ukip student leader defends far right group Facebook ad
A new student branch of Ukip has defended its decision to target people interested in Britain First.
The University of Kent Ukip Students group, which launched last week, paid to display sponsored posts on the Facebook feeds of users who had liked or clicked on ads for the far-right organisation.
But president Joe Simons distanced the group from the controversial party, describing the move as “basic marketing”.
He said: “One of the first rules on Ukip’s terms and conditions is you cannot join Ukip if you’ve previously been a member of Britain First. If there was evidence someone who wanted to join the society had, we would look into it.
“But someone who clicks on the Britain First page isn’t necessarily a member. I follow groups whose policies I disagree with, including Labour, Liberal Democrats, and so on.”
Joe, who is a second year history student at the university, said the group had generated interest, but there had also been a not-so-welcoming response.
He said: “The negative reaction is to be expected on a university campus, especially one that claims to be the UK’S Euro- Joe Simons has defended the decision to target students
“But we could’ve set up in Bath or Edinburgh and the reaction would have been the same.
“There is quite a strong population of conservative with a small ‘c’ students in Kent, so we’ve had quite a bit of interest.”
He said anyone is welcome to join, including the campus’s many foreign students, adding: “People don’t have to share our views. Our main thing is freedom of speech.
“We’re quite lucky to have a very strong sense of interaction among people from different backgrounds.”
The group, which is part of the national Ukip Students Association, held its first event last Wednesday, a pub crawl, which Joe said was well-attended.
Future plans include debating and public speaker events, film nights and involvement in the campaign for electoral reform.
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/kentukipStudents.