During an appearance on the Andrew Marr Show last Sunday the UKIP leader, Gerard Batten, defended one of his own candidates who had aimed a 'sexual assault joke' at Labour MP Jess Phillips.

Batten was speaking in defence of Carl Benjamin, also known as his YouTube persona 'Sargon of Akka', who told Phillips that he "wouldn't even rape her" in a tweet from 2016, which Batten branded as nothing more than "satire".

Speaking to Sky News reporter Kate McCann ahead of the launch of UKIP's European elections campaign in London, the 65-year-old from Romford was once again asked about Benjamin's comments.

McCann asked Batten to clarify his statement about the comment being 'satire'.

On the rape joke, you said it was a satirical comment. What did you mean by that?

Batten soon became exasperated.

Go and ask Carl Benjamin. This is a three-year-old tweet that he did in the context of some Twitter trolling.

McCann replied by asking Batten to explain his comments, not the comment made by Benjamin.

I'm not asking about the comments he made, I'm asking about your defence of the comments because he remains a UKIP candidate. 

He remains a UKIP candidate and you are the leader of the party, so you have made a decision to keep him as a candidate.

Batten then again attempted to defend Benjamin.

He has made an ill-considered remark. If you are going to stop people from taking part in public life and anything else because of some stupid ill-considered remark of several years before then I don't think you'd have anyone in parliament or anywhere else in public life because we all do things that we regret.

He can defend it or not as he likes but I'm not going to stop having a valuable candidate on the list that can get us access to social media and thousands of more people that we can talk to through social media, where less and less people are taking notice of it. So, we are seeking other avenues to the public.

McCann then pointed out the 'concern' that Benjamin's comment had prompted, which led to Batten asking "how many times are you going to ask me the same question?" before storming out of the interview.

In a tweet, the presenter said that she would try to ask Batten the same question again during the scheduled press conference Q&A session.

McCann did ask the same question again, while Batten was joined on stage by Benjamin and the so-called 'Count Dankula' who was fined £800 in April 2018 for teaching his girlfriend's dog to perform a Nazi salute.

When she did again ask the question, Batten still avoided clarifying what he meant, with Benjamin adding that he stood by the comments and added that he believed Phillips was a "massive bitch".

Jess Phillips has since responded to Batten's comments in a tweet claiming that Benjamin's 'joke' wasn't 'ill-considered'.

Others have applauded McCann for continuing to question Batten on the issue and not backing down.

HT Mirror

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