Nigel Farage has backed a party member’s right to ask if it was possible to be both Muslim and English at the same time at Ukip’s spring conference.
The question emerged during a lunchtime fringe meeting – from which security officials had attempted to bar journalists.
The Ukip leader was pressed on the issue during a press conference in Torquay.
He said: “As I understand it there was a fringe debate which went on at lunchtime today about sharia law, etc, and on the panel we had Amjad Bashir, who was going to be elected as a Muslim Ukip MEP.
“Is it right that at party conferences and at fringe meetings in particular people ask questions and have a debate? You bet your life it is, of course it is. Of course we should debate these things.
“Questions that are posed in terms of looking for a response are not necessarily reflective of the opinion.
“We should be having those debates, we are having those debates.”
The fringe meeting, called One Law For All, discussed how sharia courts and other religious laws could work in the British legal system.