Nigel Farage says tweet describing Angela Merkel as a ‘kraut’ was not racist
- Credit: Archant
Nigel Farage has said that Leave.EU's tweet calling German chancellor Angela Merkel a 'kraut' was not racist - and he used to use the term around the time he left school.
Speaking to Adam Boulton on Sky News' All Out Politics, Farage answered questions on anti-semitism in the Labour Party following the resignation of MP Dame Louise Ellman.
He accused Labour of turning a "blind eye" on the matter following the Chakrabarti report.
The Brexiteer said people had been "allowed to say things way ahead of what should be allowed".
But as Boulton turned his attention to the Brexit Party, Farage came under pressure to explain what his organisation was doing about its own supporters.
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He was insistent that he would take the same approach in his new organisation as he took with UKIP, ensuring extremists are prevented from joining.
He added: "As a party we will be deeply intollerant of interollerance".
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As the presenter pointed out it wasn't really a party, Farage insisted it was. "It's just won a national election, the fact that it operates itself through a limited company..."
But Boulton reminded him there were no official membership structures, which posed a problem for vetting.
"You're quite right that we have a board of directors. That's where our decisions get made. We're still very young, by the way, we're just six months old. We have registered supporters and we have 150,000 of those who have paid their £25 - it's pretty much like being a member."
Asked whether those people can be adequately vetted, Farage sounded less certain.
He said: "What we do vet are candidates and with members we're doing what we can to vet them, absolutely."
Boulton then asked him whether he supported the comments of his "friends at Leave.EU" - a campaign he was once a leader for - who recently had to withdraw a social media post where it called Angela Merkel "a kraut" with a photograph of her almost giving a Hitler salute.
There had been accusations from objectors that the tweet had a "xenophobic" tone, but Farage did not see it that way.
He said: "Well I don't think that is racist. I think it's ridiculous to use that language like that. I think maybe it was just a couple of decades out of date, that was all."
Asked if he defended it, he responded: "I just said to you, it's a couple of decades out of date. That is how me and you would have spoken just after we left school."
Boulton said he was "not sure" by his claims, but Farage continued: "It was the language of the day, the language of the day was different. It evolves, it moves on."
According to a Channel 4 News report in 2013 a letter from Farage's schooldays showed teachers had concerns that the Brexit Party leader could be a "racist" and a "fascist".
The letter, from one of Farage's teachers, begged his headteacher in 1981 not to make him a prefect because of his views.
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