Nigel Farage told a live ITV debate audience he had been “demonised” in the press over claims there will mass sex attacks if Britain left the EU – then immediately repeated the same warning.
Asked by an audience member if he wasn’t simply “demonising migrants” in turn, the Ukip leader said Germany and Sweden have had a “huge issue” in recent months, language reminiscent of the way Donald Trump talks about Muslims.
“What’s happened is, a very large number of single males have settled in Sweden and in Germany, who come from cultures where attitudes towards women are different,” he said.
“I haven’t scare-mongered in any way, at all,” he added.
Tola Jaiyeola, the audience member, was confronting Mr Farage over his suggestion that the possibility of sex attacks against British women would be a “nuclear bomb” in the referendum debate.
The Archbishop of Canterbury condemned the comments, saying Mr Farage was guilty of "inexcusable pandering to people’s worries and prejudices, that is giving legitimisation to racism".
Asked about Justin Welby's statement, Mr Farage said: "I’m not going to stand and attack the Archbishop of Canterbury but he would have done better to read what I actually said ... It is a tiddly issue in the this campaign. I knew the Remainers would come to me and conflate what I said."
In an increasingly acrimonious exchange, Ms Jaiyeola asked: "How can you have the audacity to use such blatant scaremongering tactics for the Leave campaign?”
"In light of the recent horrific sexual assaults in Germany, you have basically suggested that a vote to Remain is a vote for British women to be subdued to the same horrific assaults."
He went on: “Because... sometimes in life what it says at the top of a newspaper page and what you've actually said can be slightly different things.
“Look, I'm used to being demonised because I've taken on the establishment.
“When I first suggested we should have an Australian-style points system, you'd think I'd said something dreadful. And now I'm pleased to say lots of people are saying it.”
He added: “What I said about Cologne was that it's a huge issue in Germany. It's a huge issue in Sweden. I think Angela Merkel has made a big mistake by saying 'please anyone come', and what's happened is a very large number of young, single, males, have settled in Germany and Sweden who come from cultures where attitudes towards women are different.”
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