UNVEILING his bid to win over Swindon voters, Peatmoor-based YouTube star Carl Benjamin took aim at identity politics, restated his support for Brexit and said he would like to see more devolution of powers to UK regions.

The 39-year-old father-of-two, who has a million subscribers to his YouTube channel Sargon of Akkad, is seeking election to the European Parliament on the UKIP ticket.

He made his official launch in Swindon yesterday, greeted by a bloc of anti-fascist protesters. 

But he doesn’t want to be an MEP for long: “I would like Brexit. I would like to go in there and demand they effectively kick us out.”

EU policy and devolution

Quizzed on his views on other elements of European Union policy like farming, which is of major concern to rural south west England, Mr Benjamin said he had a view. But argued the policy positions “filtered down from a certain premise”.

He did not explain that premise, but went on to say: “It’s that premise that I want to attack. I don’t really want to get lost in the weeds, like the minutiae of agricultural policy. I really do think the problems are much deeper than things like that.”

He suggested that responsibility over policy areas like farming could be delegated to regional or local governments, which he said were more accountable: “I think the Cornish should deal with their own policies.”

Identity politics

"I think the big question of our age is identity," Mr Benjamin said. The candidate, who raised the subject after being asked why he thought comparatively large numbers of younger people had attended his campaign launch, claimed politicians on the left "always want to talk about identity".

Saying focusing on identity was inherently divisive, Mr Benjamin claimed: "Identity politics is about group privilege and that’s the whole point. You see this in every affirmative action programme the BBC and the government do. I’m very much against that. I think people should be treated on the merits of who they are, regardless of whether they’re white, black, straight, gay, male, female."

'Rape' tweet

This month, Mr Benjamin has faced criticism over a tweet posted in 2016 in which he is said to have told Labour MP Jess Phillips “I wouldn’t even rape you”.

Initially telling the Swindon Advertiser yesterday he would not be talking about his Twitter feed, the MEP candidate spelled out his message to voters concerned about the comments.

“Ask yourself why you care about some guy you don’t know and what he did on Twitter," he said. "And ask yourself what else you are being distracted from when you talk about this. Because you’re being led by the nose about an issue that is three-years-old and makes no difference to anything.”

At a news conference last week, Mr Benjamin refused to apologise for the Tweet and accused the media of "smearing" him. He said: "I'm not going to apologise for my crimes against political correctness, I hate political correctness."

Robert Buckland, South Swindon MP, said last night: "If he can't see what the problem is [with the tweet], then he's the problem."