Nigel Farage has been accused of giving an ‘irrational’ response to questions about racism, particularly in UKIP during his time as leader.
Appearing on ITV’s Piers Morgan’s Life Stories, Farage accused the presenter of spouting “bullshit” when he was asked about how UKIP pandered to racists when he was in charge.
It started with the programme turning its attention to his comments made in 2014 about people feeling “uncomfortable” if a group of Romanian men moved next to him. But Farage tried to deny the wording of the remarks.
Morgan said: “But when you attach a label to them like Romanian, what you are doing is demonising a country, and the people who come from there.”
Farage flippantly responded: “But this is the old trick, I was asked a question, I gave answer, I just shouldn’t have answered it.”
He said he didn’t regret the comments, but did regret answering the question.
Morgan continued: “But do you understand when that plays out, people look at you and think ‘maybe there is a bit of truth to this, maybe he has a bit of racism to it’. Because it sounds racist.”
Farage insisted: “It’s not racist.”
The presenter persevered on the subject of racism. He commented: “When you say things like that it plays into the narrative, at the time, that UKIP has a whiff of racism about it.”
“When you look at the sheer hundreds of hours of interviews and speeches I’ve done you really struggle to find anything you can put in that category,” insisted the Brexiteer.
“The problem you had was a lot of UKIP members behaved in a manner the played into that narrative”, continued Morgan.
As Morgan reeled off instances of party members who had made prejudicial remarks, Nigel Farage started to jeer and dismiss what was being said.
“The simplest think to say is it’s outrageous,” Morgan told Farage.
“I don’t need to sit in front of you or anybody else and have to defend people I have never met over whom I have no authority and I think frankly, thank god Brexit happened because this is what they try to do in this country to stop Brexit happening.”
Morgan laughed at the overreaction and told him: “I didn’t ask you to defend him!”
He continued to ask the Brexiteer if he thought he was wrong, but Farage continued to snap back “he’s irrelevant”.
“I find this fascinating – you find it so difficult just to say he’s completely wrong,” the presenter said.
As the conversation moved to other UKIP members like Godfrey Bloom who talked about “bongo bongo land”, Dr Julia Gasper who branded gay rights a “lunatic’s charter” and Andre Lampitt who said Ed Miliband was a Polish man who didn’t know what was good for Britain, Farage grew even more restless.
He protested: “I couldn’t care less, don’t bother to ask me, it’s gone. I lived through years of this bullshit from you people and I want no more of it.”
“I’m surprised by your, I would argue, irrational response. All you had to do was say in all these cases these people behaved despicably, and I distance myself completely from them”, said Morgan.
But Farage insisted it was a rational response. “It’s because of these irrelevant people being demonised by a liberal media I’ve had to live years of being frightened out into the street all of because the media picked out these people and because of these people they tried to demonise me and give me a bad name.
“And you’re surprised three years on I have to live like a virtual prisoner and I’m not happy about it?”