UKIP LEADERSHIP hopeful Peter Whittle has clashed with radio presenter John Humphrys in a fiery row over Sharia courts in the UK.
The deputy leader of the party ripped into the broadcaster during the debate on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, insisting Britain should have “a single legal system”.
He said: “There is one law in this country and that is British law.”
But the presenter made the case that Sharia courts were about adhering to “traditions” rather than implementing a parallel legal system.
Mr Whittle said: “The Government itself is having a commission, an inquiry into Sharia law, this is something that is obviously of great importance.
“If you have a single legal system then you can have a more united country, we cannot have a situation where there are increasing courts going forward that people can actually choose.”
Humphrys chimed in and said: “I’m not quite sure in what sense Muslims are outside British law.”
The London Assembly member attempted to reply but was cut off.
“Well, I think that if you have Sharia courts, which can adjudicate on domestic matters particularly,” he said before Humphrys added: “Well, adjudicated within their own community.”
Mr Whittle continued: “No, but you can’t have separate communities with their own legal systems.”
The back-and-forth exchanges continued as Humphrys suggested it was about communities having “their own traditions rather than legal system”.
But the Brexiteer refuted the claim and replied: “It’s not John… this is adjudication, this is actually handing out hearings, handing out particular rulings on particular issues which mostly, as I say, affect women.”
However, the host insisted those involved “do not have to obey those rulings” and would only have to “obey” rulings from British courts.
Mr Whittle replied: There is enormous pressure put on them [to obey]… if this was so small and insignificant I don’t even think the Government itself would actually be having [an inquiry].”
The exchange comes after Ukip MEP Mike Hookem quit as deputy whip in the European Parliament over support within the party for Sharia Watch founder Anne Marie Waters, who is also standing for party leader.
The 11 candidates for Ukip leader are 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.