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.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

There have been various incidents of social media users inadvertently flouting the law

Life and Style
Stack ‘em high?: quantity doesn’t always trump quality, as Friends of the Earth can testify
techThe proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Bourgogne wine maker Laboure-Roi vice president Thibault Garin (L) offers the company's 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau wine to the guest in the wine spa at the Hakone Yunessun spa resort facilities in Hakone town, Kanagawa prefecture, some 100-kilometre west of Tokyo
CSKA Moscow celebrate after equalising with a late penalty
footballCSKA Moscow 2 Manchester City 2: Premier League champions let two goal lead slip in Russia
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

IT Technician - 1st Line

£19000 - £21000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: ***EXCELLENT OPPOR...

Special Needs Teaching Assistant

£50 - £65 per day: Randstad Education Bristol: Special Educational Needs Teach...

Trainee Recruitment Consultant Birmingham

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Comission: SThree: The SThree group is a world lea...

Year 3 Teacher

£100 - £130 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: KS2 TeacherWould you like ...

Day In a Page

Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?
Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals

'You need me, I don’t need you'

Ed Sheeran hits back after being labelled too boring to headline festivals
How to Get Away with Murder: Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama

How to Get Away with Murder

Shonda Rhimes reinvents the legal drama
A cup of tea is every worker's right

Hard to swallow

Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Which animals are nearly extinct?

Which animals are nearly extinct?

Conservationists in Kenya are in mourning after the death of a white northern rhino, which has left the species with a single male. These are the other species on the brink
12 best children's shoes

Perfect for leaf-kicking: 12 best children's shoes

Find footwear perfect to keep kids' feet protected this autumn
Anderlecht vs Arsenal: Gunners' ray of light Aaron Ramsey shines again

Arsenal’s ray of light ready to shine again

Aaron Ramsey’s injury record has prompted a club investigation. For now, the midfielder is just happy to be fit to face Anderlecht in the Champions League
Comment: David Moyes' show of sensitivity thrown back in his face by former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson

Moyes’ show of sensitivity thrown back in his face... by Ferguson

Manchester United legend tramples on successor who resisted criticising his inheritance
Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2015

UK city beats Vienna, Paris and New York to be ranked seventh in world’s best tourist destinations - but it's not London