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'Nigel Farage has stooped to a new level of ignorance'

BLASTED: UKIP leader Nigel Farage

THE CHIEF executive of a leading sexual health charity has blasted UKIP leader Nigel Farage's comments to ban migrants with HIV from entering the UK.

Dr Rosemary Gillespie of the Terrence Higgins Trust, which aims to maximise sexual health in the UK, said Farage had "stooped to a new level of ignorance" following comments made to Newsweek Europe.

"The idea that having HIV should be used as a black mark against someone’s name is ridiculous, and shows an outrageous lack of understanding of the issue. It is to the UK’s credit that for more than three decades successive governments, no matter their political stamp, have refused to put in place border controls against people living with HIV," she said.

"Major international organisations, including the United Nations, agree that such draconian measures would have no impact on the epidemic. In bracketing those living with the condition with murderers, and suggesting there is no place for them in his vision of Britain, Mr Farage has stooped to a new level of ignorance.”

Mr Farage said he wanted to control the ‘quality’ of immigration into Britain and said this should include the health of immigrants.

He told Newsweek Europe it was wrong that the ‘chances of admission’ of highly qualified engineers from India were limited.

“Ukip want to control the quantity and quality of people who come,” he said.

ANGRY: Dr Rosemary Gillespie of the Terrence Higgins Trust

He referred to the case of convicted killer Arnis Zalkalns, suspected of murdering schoolgirl Alice Gross. “It’s simple. That Latvian convicted murdered shouldn’t have been allowed here.”

Asked whether by “quality” he meant those without a murder conviction, he replied: “Yes, and peple who do not have HIV to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill. That is what Britain should do.”

He added: “I have never said that we should not take refugees. We have a proud record of accepting refugees and that must be continued.”

There are around 60 countries that currently bar people who are HIV-positive from entry, according to the United Nations.

They include the Bahamas, the Kingdom of Brunei, Equatorial Guinea, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Russia, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sudan, the UAE and Yemen.

In 2010 Barack Obama overturned a 20-year-old US travel and immigration ban against people with HIV.

Labour MP David Lammy said he believed Farage was "trying to revive the very worst bigotry" of the 1980s.

While fellow Labour MP Pamela Nash said: "New level of disgust at Farage tonight. Not a clue about the facts around HIV. Blatant discrimination."

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