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Nigel Farage: Discrimination law remarks were misinterpreted


UKIP LEADER Nigel Farage has tried to clarify his suggestion that he would abolish much of Britain’s anti-race-discrimination legislation, claiming that his comments had been "wilfully misinterpreted".

In footage from a Channel 4 documentary to be shown next week, the Ukip politician said the party would scrap much of the legislation designed to prevent racial discrimination in work.

Downing Street said his comments were "deeply concerning", while Labour branded them "shocking".

But now Farage has backtracked, and told the BBC his remarks, recorded last autumn, had been "wilfully misinterpreted".

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today Programme he said he was merely arguing employers should be allowed to prefer British workers over migrants for jobs.

"I didn't mention race at all. There was no part of that interview which I ever said it at all.

"What I said was that I do believe there should be a presumption for British employers in favour of them employing British people as opposed to somebody from Poland. That is exactly what I said," he added.

The Channel 4 programme makers say they have not misrepresented Farage's views.

"He was asked a direct question on whether there would be a law against discrimination on the grounds of race or colour and he replied no," they said.

Farage's original comments came during an interview with the former head of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission, Trevor Phillips, for a Channel 4 documentary called Things We Won't Say About Race That Are True.

During the interview, Farage said: "I think the situation that we now have, where an employer is not allowed to choose between a British-born person and somebody from Poland, is a ludicrous state of affairs.

"I would argue that the law does need changing, and that if an employer wishes to choose – or you can use the word ‘discriminate’ if you want to – but wishes to choose to employ a British-born person, they should be allowed to do so.”

Phillips asked: “In Ukip land there would be no law against discrimination on the grounds of nationality. Would there be a law against discrimination on the grounds of race or colour?”

Farage then replied: “No. We are colour-blind. We as a party are colour-blind.”

He went on to say that concern about race discrimination “would probably have been valid” 40 years ago but that is no longer the case.

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