UKIP has deselected leading UK anti-Muslim activist Anne Marie Waters as its parliamentary candidate for Lewisham East, South London.

The National Executive Committee (NEC) made the decision after HOPE not hate and other media sources put pressure on the party to disavow the candidate. Waters, the former Pegida UK leader, founder of Sharia Watch UK, and organiser of a controversial “Muhammad Cartoons” exhibition, has also recently developed links to the extreme far right.

UKIP leader Paul Nuttall, who himself has a long history of making discriminatory remarks about Islam, has been condemned by both the press and leading members of his own party over the explicitly anti-Muslim direction in which he has led the party. After a hum of negative press around the candidate, Nuttall stated on BBC 5Live yesterday morning that Waters’ anti-Islam rants “make me feel a bit uncomfortable”.

Waters was deselected despite the social media campaign of former British National Party (BNP) star Jack Buckby, now of the extreme anti-Muslim organisation Liberty GB, who encouraged supporters to put pressure on the NEC. Worryingly, Buckby’s campaign was picked up by UKIP NEC member Anish Patel, who vowed to “do [his] best” to keep Waters as a candidate.

Patel has previously displayed his own troubling beliefs about Islam, writing publicly on his personal Facebook account that “these people will not stop until the whole of the west has completely changed and our western culture is a minority”. Also among the 16 members of UKIP’s NEC, who make up the principal management and administrative authority of UKIP, is Katie Fanning, who we previously revealed held racist and extreme anti-Muslim views.

While Waters’ deselection is a step in the right direction, people with extreme views remain at the very heart of the party, and the radical anti-Islam direction in which Nuttall has led UKIP will continue to empower them.

HOPE not hate will continue to challenge UKIP to disavow these prejudiced policies and calls upon UKIP to take the principled stance against discrimination that we should expect from any party with mainstream aspirations.