The Ukip leader Nigel Farage has defended an “offensive” stand-up routine delivered at the party’s conference in Torquay that included a string of jokes about Polish, Somalia, Muslims and Asian people.
Mr Farage was among those in the crowd at the £35-a-head black tie dinner when comedian Paul Eastwood stepped up to the stage, and warned that those who criticised the material were in “huge danger” of “killing all humour in this country”.
According to reports in the Sunday Mirror, Mr Eastwood started his act by complaining about “bloody political correctness”, before embarking on what the newspaper’s investigators described as “a 45-minute routine littered with stereotypes and tasteless gags”.
Asking if anyone in the crowd was from the Midlands, Mr Eastwood said: “Wonderful! My favourite accent is a Midlands accent,” before attempting an impersonation of an Asian person. He then reportedly tried chanting the Muslim call to prayer and described it as “a traditional Midlands folk song”.
On the topic of the Olympics, he said: “Poland did well. They took home bronze, silver, gold, lead, copper – anything they could get their hands on.”
And he added: “Team Somalia – they had to apologise. Didn’t realise sailing and shooting were two different events.”
Speaking to the Telegraph, the Ukip leader said he could not comment on individual jokes as he had left the dinner shortly after the comedian began his routine.
“But I think we're in huge danger here,” he said. “This was a guy telling jokes about national stereotypes, not racial stereotypes. We are heading down a road here where we would kill all humour in this country if we tear things to pieces.
“Enough is enough, let people tell their jokes. If what they say is inappropriate they won't earn a living because they won't get booked again.”