UKIP leader Nigel Farage says he would scrap race discrimination laws that protect workers, claiming that employers should have the right to discriminate based on ethnicity.
Farage told a Channel 4 documentary that current laws against prejudice were “ludicrous”.
“Employer[s] should be much freer to make decisions on who she or he employs. I think the situation that we now have, where an employer is not allowed to choose between a British-born person and somebody from Poland, is a ludicrous state of affairs.”
“I would argue that the law does need changing, and that if an employer wishes to choose, or you can use the word ‘discriminate’ if you want to, but wishes to choose to employ a British-born person, they should be allowed to do so.”
The documentary, ‘Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True’, is scheduled for broadcast next week and is part of Channel 4’s election season, looking specifically at race relations in the UK.
Farage however insisted that race was no longer an issue in modern Britain.
He said that racial discrimination in employment would have been a valid issue 40 years ago but it was no longer so.
“If I talked to my children about the question of race, they wouldn’t know what I was talking about”, Farage said.
On Thursday Labour accused Farage of “breathtaking ignorance”.
Shadow Justice Secretary Sadiq Khan – who is of Pakistani origin – said: “This is one of the most shocking things I have ever heard from a mainstream politician and demonstrates breathtaking ignorance.”
“We have made huge progress on tackling racial inequality and discrimination in this country but things are still far from perfect. When my parents moved to London they frequently saw signs saying ‘no blacks, no dogs, no Irish’; what Ukip is suggesting would take us back to those days”, Khan adds.
Farage was interviewed for the programme by former equality and human rights commissioner Trevor Phillips.
Asked about the topic of immigration, Farage said public concern was rooted in fears that some Muslims want to “form a fifth column and kill us”.
He added that those same Muslims were intent on changing “who we are and what we are”.
Farage says: “I think perhaps one of the reasons the polls show an increasing level of concern is because people do see a fifth column living within our country, who hate us and want to kill us.
“So don’t be surprised if there isn’t a slight increase in people’s worries and concerns. You know, when you’ve got British, when you’ve got people, born and bred in Cardiff, with British passports, going out to fight for Isis, don’t be surprised if there isn’t an uptick in concern. T here has been an uptick in concern, but does it make us a prejudiced people? No.”
He added that previous waves of migrants – such as the Jews and East African Indians – had become better integrated into British society than some recent Muslim arrivals.
“There is an especial problem with some of the people who’ve come here and who are of the Muslim religion who don’t want to become part of our culture.
“So there is no previous experience, in our history, of a migrant group that comes to Britain, that fundamentally wants to change who we are and what we are. That is, I think, above everything else, what people are really concerned about”, Farage said.
‘Things We Won’t Say About Race That Are True’ – 19 March 9 pm on Channel 4