Muslim millionaire gives major donation to Reform UK

A Muslim entrepreneur has donated hundreds of thousands of pounds to Reform UK, claiming the UK has "lost control of our borders”.

The precise amount Zia Yusuf has given to the party has not been disclosed but Reform UK claims it is the biggest donation of their general election campaign so far.

Reform UK leader Nigel Farage has faced criticism from Muslim organisations after he said a growing number of Muslims do not share British values.

When asked by the BBC about critics labelling some in Reform UK racist, Mr Yusuf said the party leadership "feel very strongly that we should protect British values and put British people of all religions and creeds first."

As well as being a donor, the BBC understands the 37-year-old will have a public role for Reform UK during the campaign.

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In an interview with The Telegraph, which first reported the story of his donation, Mr Yusuf said: "I love Britain and I'm a patriot, a British Muslim patriot, which I believe the vast majority of Muslims in the UK are."

Mr Yusuf, who earned an estimated £31m from selling his luxury concierge app Velocity Black last year, told the BBC he believed "unsustainable" net migration levels were making it harder for legal migrants to integrate and overwhelming the NHS.

"We have lost control of our borders. That's my view. And I think it's an objective statement," he told the BBC.

The entrepreneur, whose parents came to Britain from Sri Lanka in the 1980s and worked in the NHS, told the BBC "we need a grown-up discussion about immigration without name-calling".

He said it was his "patriotic duty" to fund Nigel Farage and Reform UK.

Last month, Mr Farage told Sky News: “We have a growing number of young people in this country who do not subscribe to British values, [who] in fact loathe much of what we stand for.”

Asked if he was talking about Muslims, he said: “We are."

Zara Mohammed, secretary general of the Muslim Council of Britain, accused him of deploying “horribly Islamophobic, racist and hate-filled rhetoric of misinformation”.

Reform UK said Mr Yusuf's donation was given “very recently” as a single lump sum so it has not yet shown up in Electoral Commission donation figures.

In the first week of the campaign, Reform UK raised £140,000, compared to Labour's £927,000 the Conservatives £575,000 and the Lib Dems £455,000, the Electoral Commission reported.

Born in Scotland, Mr Yusuf moved with his parents to the south of England and won a partial scholarship to attend the private Hampton School in Middlesex.

After working at Goldman Sachs, he quit his high-paying job to start Velocity Black with an old school friend.

Until recently, he was a Conservative Party member but left due to Rishi Sunak's government's inability to "make difficult decisions."

Despite parallels with Mr Sunak - both sons of migrants who entered finance after attending elite fee-paying schools - Mr Yusuf said the PM can no longer "credibly govern".

"Whatever is in the hearts of Conservative leaders, the reality is they are so disunited, and when there is so much infighting in the party," he said.