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Nigel Farage has hit out at David Cameron for "throwing slurs" at UKIP, and warned the Prime Minister he faces an “electoral war” over immigration policy.
In 2006, Mr Cameron, then Leader of the Opposition, dismissed the membership of Mr Farage’s party as “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”.
But following the news that a couple in Rotherham have had their foster children removed by social services due to their membership of UKIP, Downing Street yesterday appeared to retract the Prime Minister’s comments.
Rotherham council have been given until 9am tomorrow to explain the decision to remove the children, after social workers accused the unnamed couple of belonging to a "racist party".
Speaking to Sky News this morning, Mr Farage inisisted UKIP were "non-racist" and "non-sectarian", and warned the Prime Minister: “If he wants an electoral war with my party on his immigration open door policy he can have one.”
Meanwhile, former Children’s Minister Tim Loughton has hit out at Rotherham council’s “misguided” decision, and said he is “deeply worried” about the message it sends to prospective foster parents.
“I think it’s deeply misguided, this decision that’s been made, and it’s political correctness gone mad,” he told the Sunday Politics.
“This is the wrong decision for the kids, the wrong decision for the fosters carers, and what I’m also deeply worried about, it sends out the wrong message to people who might be coming forward as foster carers or adoptive parents, which we desperately need them to, that if they have some political connections then they’ll be vetoed, which is far from the truth.”
Labour’s Liam Byrne this morning said Rotherham council had to provide "some pretty rapid answers" to explain its decision, and urged the authorities to “leave no stone left unturned”.
"I think if that was the only reason, then it sounds a pretty flawed logic to me,” he said.
“We want as many children to be raised in loving homes as we can. Everything I’ve heard about this case makes me pretty worried. So we’ve got to get to the bottom of what’s gone on as fast as we can."
He also dismissed suggestions UKIP members were ‘racist’, saying the party was “mainstream” and presented "valid arguments".
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25/11/2012 on The Sunday Politics, BBC 1
25/11/2012 on Sunday Politics, BBC One
25/11/2012 on Monaghan, Sky News
Summaries and transcripts from TV and radio
Today on Good Morning Scotland, BBC Radio Scotland
Today on Today, BBC Radio 4
19/09/2014 on Sky News
4 hours ago