Nigel Farage’s Romania comments show he is ‘clearly a racist’, says Labour MP David Lammy

Member for Tottenham describes own leader Ed Miliband’s distinction ‘between a racist slur and racism’ as ‘pedantic’

A senior Labour MP has insisted that Nigel Farage’s comments about Romanian immigrants make it “clear he’s a racist”, dismissing party leader Ed Miliband’s refusal to describe him in such terms as “pedantic”.

The Ukip leader has been criticised by members from all the other main UK political parties this weekend after he said in a car-crash interview on LBC Radio that he would feel “uncomfortable” if a Romanian family moved in next door to him.

David Lammy, the MP for Tottenham, described how his parents had arrived in the country as immigrants and experienced similar offensive comments.

He told the BBC’s Daily Politics programme: “I remember a context in which some people said, ‘you don't want these people living next door to you’ – that was racist.

“What Nigel Farage said over the weekend was racist,” Mr Lammy said. “So I’m clear, he’s a racist.”

Mr Miliband, Mr Lammy’s party leader, said on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme that what Mr Farage had said on Friday was a “slur” and “completely out of order”, but stopped short of describing his Ukip counterpart as “a racist”.

He said: “I think our politics is disagreeable enough without political leaders saying about other political leaders ‘they are a racist’.”

When asked if Mr Miliband was “brave enough” in his description, Mr Lammy said: “It’s not helpful to get into a pedantic discussion about the difference between a racist slur and racism.

“He [Farage] is the leader of a national party, he should not be slurring whole communities of Romanians who come to this country and describing them somehow as bandits and criminals.

“It’s deeply, deeply nasty,” Mr Lammy said. “It’s the sort of thing we’ve seen before in Europe, in times of recession and depression, and we must take that kind of slur extremely seriously.”

Yesterday Mr Farage told BBC News he had been “tired” when he made the comments live on radio.

He has since taken out a full-page advert in the Daily Telegraph in which he described Ukip as “not a racist party”, before going on to quote a series of police figures linking Romanians with ATM crime and organised gangs.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project