Yvette Cooper and David Lammy attack Nigel Farage over ‘racist’ comments
Shadow home secretary and Labour MP criticise Ukip leader after he said he would not want Romanians living next door.
Nigel Farage’s comments about Romanians have been branded racist by three prominent Labour figures Yvette Cooper, Diane Abbott and David Lammy after the Ukip leader said people might not want to live next door to immigrants from the eastern European country.
Farage declined the opportunity to apologise for his comments several times in an interview with the BBC. After a day of criticism from senior politicians of all parties, Farage was asked if Ukip were the Millwall FC of British politics. “Perhaps we are the Millwall… I think in Westminster we’re loathed and feared,” he replied.
Labour leader Ed Miliband earlier said Farage had made a racial slur but was not racist, but his view was contradicted by Lammy. The MP, whose parents are from Guyana, told the BBC’s Daily Politics that Farage’s comments reminded him of the racism encountered by his mother and father when they first came to the UK.
“What Nigel Farage said over the weekend was racist. So I’m clear, he’s a racist,” he said. “I am from a background where my parents arrived here as immigrants. I remember a context in which some people said: ‘You don’t want these people living next door to you.’ That was racist.”
Cooper, the shadow home secretary, told ITV News “It’s not racist to be worried about immigration or to want stronger controls, but it is racist to somehow stir up fears about Romanians living next door. So Ukip should say they were wrong on that,” she said.
Abbott, a former shadow health minister, said “his remarks were racist” and she was “glad everybody has stopped pussyfooting around”.
It comes after David Cameron described the comments as “pretty unpleasant” and accused Ukip figures of saying a “succession of pretty appalling things”, but said he would leave others to judge.
- The Guardian,