Mike Read 'apologises unreservedly' for Ukip Calypso and withdraws it from sale

The former BBC presenter and disc jockey came under fire for singing in a faux-Jamaican accent

Matilda Battersby
Wednesday 22 October 2014 16:31
Mike Read, former DJ
Mike Read, former DJ

Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read has apologised for "unintentionally causing offence" with Ukip Calypso song and has asked his record company to withdraw it.

The song, which the Surrey-born disc jockey sings in a mock Jamaican accent, had been branded “racist”.

The track, credited to The Independents, was released this week on Amazon and iTunes, but has now been withdrawn from those sites.

The Independent’s Andy McSmith described the song as “truly, excruciating, sickeningly, sordidly, cringingly, toe-curlingly awful.”

In it the former Top Of The Pops presenter sings the praises of Ukip leader Nigel Farage, with the chorus: "When we take charge/And the new prime minister is Farage/We can trade with the world again/When Nigel is at number 10."

Having previously defended himself against the “extraordinary” accusations of racism, Read this morning released a statement apologising “unreservedly” for “unintentionally” having caused offence.

“I’m so sorry that the song unintentionally caused offence. That was never my intention and I apologise unreservedly if anyone has taken offence. I’ve asked the record company to withdraw the single immediately,” he said.

Labour MP Diane Abbott welcomed the withdrawal from sale by tweeting "thank goodness" and describing the Calypso as "puerile".

Ukip supporters had hoped to propel the Calypso to number one and Mr Farage leant his weight to the campaign by tweeting: "Help get the Ukip Calypso by The Independents to number 1."

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Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song

Earlier this week Ukip’s commonwealth spokesman Winston McKenzie defended the Calypso against accusations of racism.

McKenzie said: “From ever since the beginning of time, the Beatles, Elvis, the Rolling Stones - they've taken up the black man's music.”

McKenzie, who failed to win a seat as a councillor in Croydon after calling his own constituency “a dump” , said he thought Read was a “good man” and that the fuss surrounding the song was “crazy”.

Ukip recently gained its first elected MP following the defection of Tory minister Douglas Carswell.

Like Carswell Read switched his allegiance from the Conservatives to Ukip having tried to stand as a Tory candidate for London Mayor in 2008.

Read, who hosts an afternoon show on BBC Berkshire, hit the headlines in 1984 when he refused to play the Frankie Goes To Hollywood single "Relax" because he objected to its lyrics.

In 2009 the DJ was forced to sell his £1m vinyl collection after being declared bankrupt for the second time.

The broadcaster also tried his hand at writing musicals, but his show about the life of Oscar Wilde closed after one night following poor sales and even worse reviews.

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