NIGEL Farage has come under attack over his call for laws banning racial discrimination in employment to be scrapped.
Prime Minister David Cameron branded the comments “deeply concerning” and Labour leader Ed Miliband called them “wrong, divisive and dangerous”.
The laws protect people from racial discrimination. It’s deeply concerning he doesn’t understand that.David Cameron
But the Ukip leader hit back, saying that the law as it stands does not protect “British workers, white or black”.
Mr Farage was forced to defend comments he made in an interview with ex-equalities watchdog chief Trevor Phillips for a Channel 4 documentary, Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True, due to be broadcast next week.
In it, he said concern over preventing racial discrimination in employment “would probably have been valid” 40 years ago and he would get rid of “much of” existing legislation.
He also described some Muslims in Britain as a “fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us”.
In a message on Twitter, Mr Cameron said: “Nigel Farage is attention-seeking. The laws protect people from racial discrimination. It’s deeply concerning he doesn’t understand that.”
And Mr Miliband said: “I believe that Britain should be proud of the fact that we are a tolerant country, we’re a country of different faiths, different backgrounds. I believe that the laws we have on equality are an incredibly important part of meeting the very British value of treating everyone the same whatever their religion. I think Nigel Farage’s comments today are wrong, they’re divisive, and they’re dangerous.”
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg accused Mr Farage of “instilling fear” by conflating problems like violent extremism and Sharia law with the issue of employment legislation.
Mr Clegg said: “It is very, very unhelpful to conflate the decision a baker in Orpington might make about a Polish or British worker with the violent extremism that you see in Iraq and Syria.
“That’s what is so irresponsible in the way Nigel Farage handles these issues. He instils fear by confusing a lot of these things.”
Mr Farage responded on Twitter: “David Cameron, the people the law doesn’t protect are British workers, black or white. Disturbing, though unsurprising, that you don’t care. Ed Miliband, the laws don’t represent these values, Ed. The British people do. We believe in Britain. You believe in bureaucracy.” The Ukip leader also said it was “wholly uncontroversial” to claim that some Muslims want to change British culture and bring in Sharia law.
Asked about his comments, Mr Farage said: “We’ve never before had a migrant group come to Britain who have tried to change our culture, and unfortunately there are a small number in the Muslim community who genuinely want to bring Sharia law to Britain. So, I think that’s a wholly uncontroversial comment.
“Second thing I was saying was this: small businesses, there are only five million of them, and they are a massively important part of our economy. They feel very, very pressured by continued legislation and in many cases are actually fearful of taking on staff.
“If a British employer in small business wants to employ a British person over somebody from Poland they should be able to.”
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