Nigel Farage has defended his policy of rejecting migrants with HIV from coming into the UK, saying Britain should “put our own people first”.
Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show with just days to go until the EU referendum, the Ukip leader was challenged over his stated position that refusing to accept migrants with HIV would be a “good start” to reforming immigration.
Mr Farage refused to repeat the line live on TV, but he nonetheless defended a policy that would block people who want to come to the UK “to get free healthcare”.
The leading Brexit campaigner said he wants Britain “to be a normal country”, suggesting that involves not “allowing people to come into the country who would be a huge burden on the health service”.
And Mr Farage suggested people would be forced to prove they do not have HIV when they arrive at the border, pointing – as he often does – to how things are done in Australia, where “you have to prove various things” on entry.
“Let’s be clear, if you are coming to live in this country, to work in this country, you have to bring your own health insurance,” he said. “We have a national health service that is at breaking point.
“It is a national health service, it is not an international health service.”
Pressed for an answer as to whether he still believed Britain should reject people with HIV, Farage suggested he would if they were coming “to get free healthcare”.
He said: “Should we say to people from all over the world, if you’ve got a very serious disease we are very happy for the national health service to provide whatever healthcare you want, at the same time as it now takes people in Britain a fortnight to get a GP appointment?
“It is about priorities, isn’t it? And my priority would be, we put our own people first. It is about time we did.”
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