Nigel Farage 'would do a deal with the devil' to get EU referendum

Ukip leader also claimed the 'hysteria' over Romanians had actually been 'stirred up' by the tabloid press and not by himself

Nigel Farage has declared – not for the first time – that he would “do a deal with the devil” in order to achieve a referendum on Europe as he defended controversial remarks he made about Romanians.

Mr Farage, who appeared more collected on BBC Radio 4's Today programme than in last week's 'car-crash' radio interview with LBC host James O'Brien, said if his party's MPs held the balance of power, he would "do a deal with the devil" to ensure that there was a referendum on Europe - a signal that he would be prepared to support a minority Tory or Labour administration on the issue.

Ahead of Thursday's European and local elections, he said: "I would do a deal, post the next election, I would help a minority party in Westminster, I would do a deal with the devil in those circumstances if it got us a referendum."

This vow is one the Ukip leader has made repeatedly throughout his campaign, first making the pledge in January where he told Sky News: “I would do a deal with the devil, if it got us what we need,” before repeating it in February when discussing his desire for a referendum on Europe.

Mr Farage, who was questioned on his claim that he would feel uncomfortable if a group of Romanian people moved in next door during his LBC interview, had appeared on Good Morning Britain earlier in the morning and insisted he had nothing against Romanians. Instead, he claimed the "hysteria" over Romanians had actually been "stirred up" by the tabloid press and not by himself.

"When I said would people be concerned if a group of Romanian men moved in next door, these were newspaper headlines, run by our biggest tabloids, week after week, that is what stirred up the hysteria, not me," he asserted.

"I didn't say I would be worried, I didn't say people should be worried, I said people would be worried, because they had read all this stuff in the newspapers and they have seen the crime statistics."

"But I have got a problem with Romania, a very big problem with Romania," he added. "I have been there, there are three million people there in the Roma minority who are treated appallingly.

"They can't get jobs, they can't get housing, they live in the most extraordinary conditions. And they have fallen victim, many of them have fallen victim, to an organised crime gang network of a very serious dimension."

Mr Farage also denied being frightened and "bottling" the chance to attend the event in Croydon, south London, yesterday but admitted it was "probably a good job" he had not attended in view of events at the scene.

pg-10-election-3-getty.jpgHe claimed he has already been assaulted during the campaign after being hit over the head with a banner, "which was pretty nasty," and being hit by an egg, "which is not quite so bad".

When questioned over his use of bodyguards and exactly what “worried” him about ordinary members of the public, he replied: "These aren't ordinary members of the public, this is organised, these are funded organisations, predominantly backed by the trade unions, who actually want to stop me speaking. If you think about it, it isn't very democratic."