The Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, has distanced himself from the views of his own immigration spokesman, Gerard Batten, after the London MEP proposed a special code of conduct for Muslims.

Ukip stressed that asking Muslims to sign such a document had never been one of its policies, even though the launch of Batten's "proposed charter of Muslim understanding" used to be promoted on the party's website.

Batten, who was on Wednesday campaigning for Ukip in the Wythenshawe and Sale East byelection, told the Guardian this week that he could not see how any "reasonable, normal person" could object to signing the charter, which calls on Muslims to accept equality, reject violence and accept the need to modify the Qur'an.

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