Ukip’s Nigel Farage defends Romanian ‘criminals’ comment
Leader stands by remarks on LBC radio while communities secretary Eric Pickles says party xenophobic but not racist.
Nigel Farage has attempted to defend his controversial remarks that he would be concerned if a group of Romanians were to move in next door to him.
The statement published on the Ukip website comes a day after Farage took part in a heated radio interview in which he was accused of running a divisive and racist organisation.
In the live interview with LBC radio on Friday, the Ukip leader claimed that people know which foreigners make good neighbours as he struggled to square his opposition to European immigration with having a German wife.
Farage said he stood by his claim that Romanians were more likely to be criminals and denied that they were racist. “The unfortunate reality is that we are in political union with a post-communist country that has become highly susceptible to organised crime,” he said.
“Where there are differential crime rates between nationalities, it is perfectly legitimate to point this out and to discuss it in the public sphere and I shall continue to do so.
“Police figures are quite clear that there is a high level of criminality within the Romanian community in Britain. This is not to say for a moment that all or even most Romanian people living in the UK are criminals.
“But it is to say that any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door.”