Nigel Farage has been accused of “stooping to a new level of ignorance” for reportedly suggesting stopping migrants with HIV from entering the UK would be a "good start" in controlling Britain’s borders.
In an interview with Newsweek Europe, the Ukip leader set out the changes he would like to see, including a block on convicted killers being allowed into the UK, referring to the Latvian prime suspect in the Alice Gross murder case.
It was in this interview, published as the polls closed in the Clacton and Heywood and Middleton byelections, that he reportedly said Ukip "want to control the quantity and quality of people who come" to the UK.
When asked by Newsweek whether "quality" meant people without a murder conviction, he answered: "Yes. And people who do not have HIV, to be frank. That's a good start. And people with a skill. That is what Britain should do."
He went on to say: "I have never said that we should not take refugees. We have a proud record of accepting refugees, and that must be continued."
The Terrence Higgins Trust's, the oldest HIV charity, condemned his remarks for demonstrating an “outrageous” lack of understanding over the issue.
Chief executive Dr Rosemary Gillespie said: "It is to the UK's credit that for more than three decades successive governments, no matter their political stamp, have refused to put in place border controls against people living with HIV.
"Major international organisations, including the United Nations, agree that such draconian measures would have no impact on the epidemic. In bracketing those living with the condition with murderers, and suggesting there is no place for them in his vision of Britain, Mr Farage has stooped to a new level of ignorance."
Responding to his remarks, Labour MP Pamela Nash said: "New level of disgust at Farage tonight. Not a clue about the facts around HIV. Blatant discrimination."
On Twitter, fellow Labour MP David Lammy claimed Farage was "trying to revive the very worst bigotry of the 1980s”.
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