Farage defends Polish party link

Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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Ukip leader Nigel Farage has defended his decision to link up with a member of a controversial right-wing Polish party to save his grouping in the European Parliament.

The Eurosceptic Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) group escaped disbandment – and the loss of EU funding – after recruiting Robert Iwaszkiewicz of the Polish Congress of the New Right (KNP), keeping up its tally of MEPs from at least seven member states.

KNP leader Janusz Korwin-Mikke has been described as one of the most controversial figures in Polish politics, questioning whether Hitler knew about the Holocaust and suggesting women are less intelligent than men and should not be entitled to vote.

Mr Farage insisted that he had found nothing in Mr Iwaszkiewicz’s background to suggest that he was an extremist.

Asked about the MEP’s reported comment that there were “quite a few wives around who’d be brought back down to earth” if their husbands hit them, Mr Farage, said: “I think that comment was a joke.”

He told BBC Radio 4’s The World At One: “I have found nothing in this guy’s background to suggest he is a political extremist at all. He has joined our group to save us.

“All of us in the European Parliament have to make compromises to make sure that our voice is heard. I want us to have our voice, I want us to have a group, but I will not do it at any price.

“If it came to a decision that do we cast Ukip into the outer darkness of a non-attached group here or do a deal with a known prominent extremist in Europe, I would not do that deal.”

Mr Farage also dismissed suggestions that the Ukip Calypso song – performed by the Ukip supporting former Radio 1 DJ Mike Read in a cod West Indian accent – was racist.

“Of course it’s not. Mike Read has worked for the BBC for several decades, he is one of your corporation’s great stars,” he said.

“As he has said himself, if he was to do a Bob Dylan song, he’d do Bob Dylan’s accent. It is meant to be a bit of fun. Those who want to find offence will do it.”

Published: Tuesday 21st October 2014 by The News Editor

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