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Ukip official mistakes Westminster Cathedral for a mosque

Westminster Cathedral, the mother church for Catholics in England and Wales (Photo: PA)

A Ukip official confused Westminster Cathedral for a mosque yesterday, accusing the BBC of bias for filming in front of it.

The BBC’s Daily Politics programme produced a report outside Westminster Cathedral about Nigel Farage’s fitness to be prime minister.

The Ukip office at South Thanet – the constituency where Mr Farage plans to stand in the general election next May – tweeted a complaint: “Perfect place to hold vote in front of a mosque in London. The BBC’s random means selective.”

Reporter Giles Dilnot responded, providing a link to an internet page showing Westminster Cathedral and its 273-foot campanile tower, which is dedicated to St Edward the Confessor – with the comment: “not sure you’ll find a mosque in there though”.

It is possible the confusion arose because of the cathedral’s neo-Byzantine style – it has a dome instead of the more recognisable Gothic church spire.

But Fr Anthony Symondson, an architectural historian, said: “They are being extremely ignorant. There’s nothing mosque-like about Westminster Cathedral.”

Asked about the mistake on the Daily Politics show today, Ukip leader Nigel Farage said: “The people’s army are not all wholly trained. They are enthusiastic volunteers and volunteers make mistakes and that lady made a mistake.”

Fr Alexander Master, Cathedral sub-administrator, said: “We are delighted that the BBC chose Westminster Cathedral as a backdrop to survey people of all faiths and none.”

The poet Sir John Betjeman described the Cathedral as “a masterpiece in striped brick and stone in an intricate pattern of bonding, the domes being all-brick in order to prove that the good craftsman has no need of steel or concrete”.