Farage ‘car crash’ radio interview interrupted by Ukip official
Party leader challenged over expenses and attitude to immigrants
UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage: complained journalists want only to talk “about the idiots in Ukip” who make racist or homophobic remarks. Photograph: Matthew Lloyd/Getty Images
A UKIP official stormed into a London radio station yesterday to bring an interview to awith UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, after Farage was challenged over his attitude to immigrants and about his MEP expenses.
During one of the most difficult interviews yet endured by Farage, the Ukip leader complained that journalists want only to talk “about the idiots in Ukip” who make racist or homophobic remarks, yet are silent about misconduct in other parties.
Nearly 20 minutes into the interview, Ukip’s director of communications, Patrick O’Reilly, tried to bring the interview the end when he came into the studio, surprising both the presenter and Mr Farage, who waved him away.
“Wherever we have found people who have had extreme, racist, unpleasant views we have unceremoniously got rid of them. To hold out the views of handful of people as being representative of Ukip frankly is not the truth,” he declared.
In the latest controversy to upset Ukip’s election campaign, it has emerged that a company owned by an Asian candidate running for the European Parliament has been fined for employing illegal immigrants.
However, Mr Farage defended his candidate, Amjad Bashir, saying he had founded the Manchester chain of restaurants but “he’s no longer a director of, his sons run it, they have got a big row going on” with the immigration authorities and were appealing the ruling. He wasn’t responsible for the day to day running of it. However, I’ve spoken to him this morning. He says they made checks and they are in dispute with the immigration authorities, and they’ve gone to appeal.”
Meanwhile, he was pressed to defend his declaration – made at the end of the party’s last conference in Torquay – that he had felt “uncomfortable” about being on a London train when no one else in his carriage had spoken English.
Clearly irritated by the interview, Mr Farage told London LBC radio presenter James O’Brien: “I made a comment there that wasn’t intended to say any more than that I felt uncomfortable about the rate and pace of change.”
Later, Mr Farage said that a Ukip county council candidate will face a disciplinary charge over a Twitter message – though it was posted in February – where he wondered “if we shot one poofter, whether the next 99 would decide on balance that they weren’t after all”.
Later, Mr Farage denied he had said that he did not want “to live next door to Romanians”, though he said people would “know what the difference is” between living next door to Romanians or “a group of German children”.
The interview prompted joy among critics, who said he had endured “a car crash”, though there is little evidence to suggest the interview, or the criticism that Ukip has faced in the last couple of weeks, will do much to reduce its share of the vote in next week’s elections.