Mr Howard, who has made immigration one of the key issues of the general election campaign, said that when his father, Bernard Hecht, applied for UK citizenship in 1947, he falsified details, claiming his parents had died in Romania. In reality his grandmother had died in Auschwitz but his grandfather was living in London, where he had been since the 1930s.
In an interview published in The Daily Mail today he said: "I have speculated on the reason and I suppose one possibility is that my grandfather might have entered Britain unlawfully.
"That may be one answer, but it will remain a mystery. I simply can't think why he gave incorrect information about my grandmother's death. As for my grandfather, there might have been some irregularity about his status."Reuse content