Nigel Farage has rejected widespread claims that Ukip’s advertising blitz on immigration was “racist” – as it emerged that a woman posing as a voter in the Ukip manifesto works for him.
Lizzy Vaid appears in a full-page photograph as a voter from Devon, but is actually Ukip’s events manager and an assistant to the party leader.
The embarrassing development came as Mr Farage accused Ukip’s critics of “screaming blue murder” about the £1.5m poster campaign because they did not want an “honest conversation” about immigration, as he launched the party’s campaign for the European Parliament elections next month.
The posters include stark warnings that “British workers are hit hard by unlimited foreign labour”. One says that 26 million people in Europe are looking for work, adding, with a picture of a finger pointing at the reader, “and whose job are they after?”.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the leader of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, said it was wrong to use expressions that suggest “dismay or distress at all these people coming to this country”.
The Tory MP and former Defence minister Nicholas Soames said: “At a time when our country really needs to come together, the Ukip advertising campaign is deeply divisive, offensive and ignorant.”
Mr Farage insisted that Ukip is not accusing foreigners of “stealing” jobs from Britons, but said high levels of immigration from Europe had only been good for big business and rich people who wanted cheap nannies. “I don’t see how anybody can look at these posters and call them racist in any way at all,” he said.Reuse content