A councillor for Britain’s UK Independence Party (UKIP) has been filmed saying she had a problem with “negroes” and would not sit next to one at a dinner party – a new embarrassment for the populist party before a national election in May.
Rozanne Duncan was expelled from UKIP after it learned of the remarks, made in a BBC documentary which was aired on Sunday (22 February).
But the incident will reinforce the perception that UKIP, which is against the EU, and wants curbs on immigration, is racist and bigoted.
Duncan was a UKIP councillor in Thanet, southeast England, where party leader Nigel Farage hopes to win a seat in parliament in the election on 7 May.
“The only people I do have problems with are negroes and I don’t know why,” Duncan said in footage filmed late last year.
“I don’t know whether there is something in my psyche or whether it is karma from a previous life…but I really do have a problem with people with negroid features.”
Duncan goes on to say she would decline an invite to a dinner party if she was to sit next to a black person.
Farage condemned Duncan’s comments and said she has been expelled by the party.
“What was said was wholly inappropriate, at odds with what UKIP stands for and we just don’t tolerate that kind of thing,” Farage told the BBC.
Prime Minister David Cameron once sought to dismiss the party as full of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”, but its rise in popularity now threatens his Conservative Party’s chances of being re-elected.
The Conservative UK Prime Minister David Cameron has said he would try to curb EU immigration if re-elected in a May 2015 general election.
In a major speech made last November, Cameron said the EU should change its rules on immigration, warning he would “rule nothing out" if Britain's concerns fall on deaf ears, meaning that the UK would consider leaving the Union.
Cameron has promised to try to reshape Britain's EU ties before holding a referendum on the country's EU membership by 2017 if he wins next year's election.
Cameron's promise was made under growing pressure from the anti-EU UK Independence Party (UKIP) and from some of his own Eurosceptic backbench lawmakers.
Eurosceptics want to stop what they regard as welfare abuse by poor immigrants from eastern Europe with no jobs and no social coverage, who are putting pressure on local services, such as health and housing.
Critics accuse him of exaggerating the problem to curry favour with voters who might turn to UKIP.
Cameron's bid to cap immigration has provoked warnings from the European Commission, which regards freedom of movement as sacrosanct.
In a study published last year, the Commission found little evidence of "benefits tourism" happening in Europe.
In most countries, EU migrants represent less than 5% of welfare beneficiaries and these migrants make an overall net contribution to the finances of their host countries because they pay more in taxes than they receive in benefits, the study found.
- 7 May 2015: UK general election7 May 2015: UK general election
- 2017: Proposed year of referendum on UK membership of the EU