Nigel Farage argued that large mosques are "not necessarily a great idea", as he toured a West Midlands town where the English Defence League has demonstrated against plans to build one with an 18-metre high minaret.

The Ukip leader was speaking in Dudley North, a constituency where tensions over the mosque appeared to be at the heart of an alleged plot by former Tory candidate Afzal Amin to get the EDL to organise an anti-mosque march that he would then take credit for stopping. The scandal led to Amin's resignation last month.

Asked for his view on the Dudley mosque, Farage said: "People need places of religious worship. It's just a question of whether that scale is the right one or not. I'm not going to for one moment advocate that we should ban people from being able to worship their religion. I think it's very important they do. But whether super-mosques are the way forward is a separate question."

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