First it was Arabs, now it's Europe's 'barbarians'

TV presenter Kilroy-Silk moves further to the right as he signs up as MEP candidate for the UK Independence Party, which wants Britain to pull out of EU
Click to follow
Indy Politics

Robert Kilroy-Silk, the politician turned TV presenter who lost his daytime show for insulting the Arab nations, has now joined a group of people who think that continental Europe is ruled by "barbarians".

Robert Kilroy-Silk, the politician turned TV presenter who lost his daytime show for insulting the Arab nations, has now joined a group of people who think that continental Europe is ruled by "barbarians".

Mr Kilroy-Silk confirmed yesterday that he is running for the European Parliament as an East Midlands candidate for the UK Independence Party (UKIP).

The former Labour MP, whose opinions have become more right-wing as he has grown older, wants Britain to withdraw from the EU altogether, and to impose heavy restrictions on immigration. He gives his reasons in a column in today's Sunday Express.

The UKIP's publicist, Max Clifford, was confident yesterday that Mr Kilroy-Silk will also endorse the anti-EU sentiments being circulated in leaflets produced by his new party colleagues in the East Midlands. The tone of the leaflets has shocked Labour Party canvassers, but Mr Clifford has said that they are good publicity for the party and that he hopes Mr Kilroy-Silk will give them his personal backing.

One leaflet handed out in Derby, by the South Derbyshire branch of UKIP, claimed: "The EU is nothing more than a devilish conspiracy to deliver a quasi-communist-socialist-federal dream state."

The leaflets add that "it is inspired by envy, greed and self-serving ambition that dictates if they can't beat us they will drag us down to their level because they can't bear to see a free and democratic country like the UK doing better than they are".

The same leaflet warns that "predators are at the gate" and that "no one and nothing is safe from the barbarians in our midst". Mr Clifford said: "As PR for the UK Independence Party I very much hope Kilroy-Silk is going to endorse those thoughts. [The leaflets are] absolutely right and they're good publicity."

But Philip Whitehead, Labour MEP for the East Midlands, said: "Does Kilroy really want to be here peddling the paranoid views of his new friends?

"There is now big money and faded glamour behind this stew of paranoia. Every Labour supporter must realise that we have only the ballot to stop this wild talk ever turning into political action."

Mr Kilroy-Silk, 62, first came to prominence when he was elected Labour MP for Ormskirk, Lancashire, in 1974. During a televised interview on his train journey to London to take up his seat, he forecast that he would be Prime Minister within 15 years.

More than 12 years later, after he had risen to be a junior opposition spokesman on home affairs, he abruptly quit the Commons to take up his career as host of a television chat show. That ended after he wrote a newspaper article describing Arabs as "suicide bombers, limb amputators and women repressors".

Roger Knapman, leader of the UKIP, said yesterday: "I greatly welcome Mr Kilroy-Silk as a UK Independence Party candidate. He is hugely respected as a journalist and broadcaster, and firm in his views, particularly with regard to the retention of Britain's independence and sovereignty.

"I am sure he will fight a vigorous campaign in the East Midlands, and all of us in UKIP are looking forward to working with him."

Since being fired by the BBC, Mr Kilroy-Silk has been largely absent from the nation's television screens, apart from a brief, but high-profile, visit to the corporation last month as a guest on BBC2's Have I Got News For You. But fans have been able to keep in touch with his maturing political philosophy thanks to his Sunday Express column.

"This country belongs to us," he opined last week. "It is ours, not Tony Blair's or that of the rarefied ever-so-superior people who surround him."

This weekend, the would-be defender of the British way of life was keeping a low profile - in Spain, where he has a second home.