Farage celebrates ‘Ukip’s Clause IV moment’ as he surrounds himself with black candidates
Nigel Farage stood on stage with an assortment of black and ethnic minority Ukip candidates last night, as he attempts to dispel perceptions that his party is racist.
The party leader insisted it was "Ukip's Clause IV moment" – a reference to Tony Blair's rewrite of the Labour party constitution away from socialism.
"I don't care what you call us but from this moment on, please, do not ever call us a racist party. We are not a racist party," Farage said.
"There will always be in any system a few people who creep over the line and cause us embarrassment.
"I would rather the ten people – out of 2,234 – who said things that are either stupid or offensive in some case, I'd rather it hadn't happened," he added.
"The result of this has been huge sections of the British media defended their friends in the so-called main parties and the offensive, idiotic statements made by this handful of people have been lifted up and presented to the Great British public as if they represent the view of this party, which they do not. They never have and they never will."
Outside the centre a noisy crowd of anti-racist campaigners chanted slogans and for a brief moment made it inside before being forced out again.
Farage has been hyping the event throughout the week, but his efforts were derailed by a drip feed of stories about comments from MEP Roger Helmer, who will contest the Newark by-election for the party.
Helmer was reported by the Sun to have noted that some people find homosexuality "distasteful if not viscerally repugnant"
When challenged, he replied: "Different people may have different tastes. You may tell me that you don't like Earl Grey tea. That may be a minority view but you are entitled not to like it if you don't like it."
Meanwhile, the Huffington Post found that many workers distributing Ukip's fliers warning of "British workers" being "hit hard by unlimited foreign Labour" were in fact Eastern Europeans.
Andrew Spalis, co-owner of leafleting firm Fast Leaflet, the company used by Ukip to distribute party literature, said most people on his team are originally from Eastern Europe and moved to Britain in search of work.
"I've got my phone book full of names and telephone numbers of people who want to make lots of money, and I call them when I need people," he said.
"Sometimes I take English people, but not very often."
The party was last accused of hypocrisy when it emerged that a man playing an out-of-work builder on a Ukip poster was in fact Dave O' Rourke.
Politics.co.uk reported last week that William Henwood, a Ukip candidate in Enfield who said Lenny Henry should "emigrate to a black country", was in fact an immigrant from South Africa.