Nigel Farage defends his policy of banning immigrants with HIV from UK

'It is a national health service, it is not an international health service'

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Indy Politics

Nigel Farage has defended his policy of rejecting migrants with HIV from coming into the UK, saying Britain should “put our own people first”.

Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show with just days to go until the EU referendum, the Ukip leader was challenged over his stated position that refusing to accept migrants with HIV would be a “good start” to reforming immigration.

Mr Farage refused to repeat the line live on TV, but he nonetheless defended a policy that would block people who want to come to the UK “to get free healthcare”.

The leading Brexit campaigner said he wants Britain “to be a normal country”, suggesting that involves not “allowing people to come into the country who would be a huge burden on the health service”.

And Mr Farage suggested people would be forced to prove they do not have HIV when they arrive at the border, pointing – as he often does – to how things are done in Australia, where “you have to prove various things” on entry.

“Let’s be clear, if you are coming to live in this country, to work in this country, you have to bring your own health insurance,” he said. “We have a national health service that is at breaking point.

“It is a national health service, it is not an international health service.”

Pressed for an answer as to whether he still believed Britain should reject people with HIV, Farage suggested he would if they were coming “to get free healthcare”.

He said: “Should we say to people from all over the world, if you’ve got a very serious disease we are very happy for the national health service to provide whatever healthcare you want, at the same time as it now takes people in Britain a fortnight to get a GP appointment?

“It is about priorities, isn’t it? And my priority would be, we put our own people first. It is about time we did.”

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The EU referendum debate has so far been characterised by bias, distortion and exaggeration. So until 23 June we we’re running a series of question and answer features that explain the most important issues in a detailed, dispassionate way to help inform your decision.

What is Brexit and why are we having an EU referendum?

Will we gain or lose rights by leaving the European Union?

What will happen to immigration if there's Brexit?

Will Brexit make the UK more or less safe?

Will the UK benefit from being released from EU laws?

Will leaving the EU save taxpayers money and mean more money for the NHS?

What will Brexit do to UK trade?

How Brexit will affect British tourism

What will Brexit mean for British tourists booking holidays in the EU?

Will Brexit help or damage the environment?

Will Brexit mean that Europeans have to leave the UK?

What will Brexit mean for British expats?