Nigel Farage's 'car-crash' LBC interview halted by Ukip spin doctor over expenses queries

Presenter James O’Brien challenged the Ukip leader over his attitudes towards immigrants, the behaviour of his candidates and his expenses

Nigel Farage's self-assured media persona rapidly came undone in a tense interview with LBC presenter James O’Brien on Friday, as the Ukip party leader was repeatedly challenged over his attitudes towards immigrants, allegations of racism and his expenses before his director of communications was forced to terminate the interview.

During the interview, O’Brien reminded Farage of remarks he made when he complained of feeling uncomfortable when travelling on trains and hearing passengers speak languages other than English.

At the time, he described being on a rush-hour train leaving Charing Cross, saying "it was not until we got past Grove Park that I could hear English being audibly spoken in the carriage".

When asked if he felt awkward when his German wife spoke German not English, Farage pointed out that they could also speak English, but admitted that he did not know whether the people on the train spoke English as well.

He went on to insist there was nothing racist about his position. "What is racism?" he asked.

"Is race about colour? Is race about race or is it about nationality? I made a comment there that wasn't intended to say any more than that I felt uncomfortable about the rate and pace of change.”

O'Brien cut in: "You felt uncomfortable about people speaking foreign languages, despite the fact that presumably your own wife does when she phones home to Germany."

"I don't suppose she speaks it on the train," an exasperated Farage responded.

O'Brien then questioned Farage on his claim that he would feel uncomfortable if a group of Romanian men moved in next door, pressing him to say whether he "would feel the same about a group of German children", asking "what's the difference?"

Farge somewhat ambiguously replied: "I think you know the difference. We want an immigration policy that is not just based on controlling not just quantity but quality".

He was also confronted over controversial comments made by his party candidates. "All anyone wants to talk about is the idiots in Ukip," Farage said. "Wherever we have found people who have had extreme, racist, unpleasant views we have unceremoniously got rid of them.

"To hold out the views of handful of people as being representative of Ukip frankly is not the truth."

Yet O’Brien read out a Facebook post from a Ukip candidate suggesting that "poofters" might reconsider their sexual orientation if one was made an example of and shot, which had been posted three months before.  In an awkward exchange, Farage was forced to admit he knew nothing about the tweet or the individual who tweeted it.

The interview was brought to a close 22 minutes in by Patrick O'Flynn, the party’s head of communications, after Farage was accused by O'Brien of "reverse-ferretting" over a promise to have his EU expenses and allowances audited, before enquiring if Farage would be willing to sign up to a transparency arrangement used by Labour MEPS, which he had to hand in the studio.

When O’Flynn burst into the studio and interrupted, O’Brien explained: “This is Patrick O’Flynn, Ukip’s Director of Communications and former political commentator on the Daily Express. Is this a friend in the media, or a member of the political class?”

This came after Farage had been challenged earlier in the interview over a phrase where he discussed “members of the political class and their friends in the media”. O’Brien pointed out Farage writes columns for both The Independent and The Express, and regularly appears on Question Time.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
News
Jihadi John
newsMonikers like 'Jihadi John' make the grim sound glamorous
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003