How Anne Marie Waters went from Stoneybatter to Ukip

The Irish woman started her political life in British Labour before veering to the right

Irish born Anne Marie Waters is aiming to become the latest leader of the British political party Ukip. Video: Anne Marie Waters

 

Anne Marie Waters describes herself as “passionately, loyally, resolutely and proudly British”, but as her accent testifies, she is a Dubliner who grew up in Stoneybatter. A lesbian who is in a civil partnership, Waters is a former LGBT activist and secularist campaigner whose political life began in the British Labour party before veering sharply to the right.

Waters studied journalism at Nottingham Trent University, graduating in 2003 before going to work in the National Health Service. She left Labour in 2013 after failing to win selection as a parliamentary candidate, but she was a controversial figure while still a member.

In November 2013, she resigned from the pressure group One Law for All, which opposes sharia law, because, according to the group, of “political disagreements on some key issues, including One Law for All’s refusal to collaborate with the members of racist and far-right groups”.

For a start, the immigration will have to stop, the immigration from Islamic countries has to stop entirely, that is just the way it is

Waters then launched her own group, Sharia Watch UK, organising a “Draw Muhammad” exhibition featuring cartoons of the prophet which was cancelled due to safety fears. By now, she had joined Ukip, standing for the party in Lewisham East in the 2015 general election, when she called for a ban on Muslim immigration.

“For a start, the immigration will have to stop, the immigration from Islamic countries has to stop entirely, that is just the way it is,” she told an undercover Daily Mirror reporter.

“A lot of people need to be deported. Many mosques need to be closed down. It really has to get tough.”

Waters joined forces with Tommy Robinson, a former leader of the extreme-right English Defence League (EDL), to form a British version of the German anti-Muslim group Pegida.

Ukip deselected her as a candidate in this year’s general election on account of her extreme views, but an attempt to block her as a candidate for the leadership failed and she is favourite to be declared leader on Friday.