Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

Milkshake politics: How Brits are protesting the far right

Divisive candidates are being doused with the popular drink as election campaigning hots up

Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage after being hit with a milkshake during an election campaign walkabout in Newcastle, England. AP
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage after being hit with a milkshake during an election campaign walkabout in Newcastle, England. AP

Right-wing figures running for office in the UK are finding themselves dodging milkshakes as well as questions from would-be constituents.

Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party and ex-leader of Ukip, was doused in milkshake on Monday during a campaign walkabout in the northern English city of Newcastle, just days after far-right figures and EU election candidates Tommy Robinson and Carl Benjamin were attacked in the same style.

Immediately after the incident Mr Farage could be heard telling his security staff "this is a failure" and asking "how did that happen?", local media reported.

After leaving the town centre with his suit splattered with milkshake, Mr Farage tweeted: “Sadly some remainers have become radicalised, to the extent that normal campaigning is becoming impossible.

"For a civilised democracy to work you need the losers' consent, politicians not accepting the referendum result have led us to this."

The country’s participation in European elections, despite having voted to leave the EU almost three years ago, has angered Brexiteers, leading many to stand for election to Brussels.

However, the anti-immigration policies and controversial remarks of some candidates have sparked protests in the communities in which they are standing.

A woman holds a milkshake cup reading ' Want fries with that, Tommy?' during a counter protest against English far-right activist Tommy Robinson last week. Getty
A woman holds a milkshake cup reading ' Want fries with that, Tommy?' during a counter protest against English far-right activist Tommy Robinson last week. Getty

Carl Benjamin, who previously tweeted that he "wouldn't even rape" a female Labour MP, has been hit with milkshake four times in the last week, most recently in Salisbury, England on Sunday.

The trend appears to have begun with an attack on far-right figure Tommy Robinson, real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, on the first and second of May.

Fast-food brands weighed in on the issue at the weekend, with a McDonalds close to a Nigel Farage rally in Edinburgh, Scotland, displaying a sign reading: “We will not be selling milkshakes or ice cream tonight. This is due to a police request given recent events.”

A McDonald's representative confirmed the request by police to local newspapers. Meanwhile, rival food chain Burger King defiantly tweeted its followers in Scotland: “We’re selling milkshakes all weekend. Have fun.”

It later added: “We’d never endorse violence - or wasting our delicious milkshakes!”

A man claiming to have been behind the milkshake incident spoke to the media after being detained by police on Monday

“It’s a right of protest against people like [Mr Farage]” said Paul Crowther, 32.

“The bile and the racism he spouts out in this country is far more damaging than a bit of milkshake to his front.”

Northumbria Police confirmed they had arrested a man, 32, on suspicion of common assault.

Updated: July 4, 2019 02:45 PM

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