#UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been accused of “a new level of ignorance”, after proposing a blanket ban on people with HIV entering the UK.
Farage made the comments in a Newsweek interview, and when asked which kinds of people should be allowed to enter the UK, he said: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.”
When challenged by Newsweek interviewer Robert Chalmers on the issue, he said: “There are 190 countries in the world that operate like that. That is what Britain should do. I have never said that we should not take refugees. We have a proud record of accepting refugees.”
Then, on the Today Programme on Radio 4, Farage suggested that a similar ban was in effect in the US and Australia, and said those with “life threatening diseases” should not be allowed to migrate to the UK because the NHS would have to treat them.
He said: “We should do what America does, what Australia does, what every country in the world does. We want people who have trade and skills. But we do not want people with criminal records and we cannot afford to have people with life threatening diseases,
“We have leading cancer experts in Britain saying the burden now of treating overseas people is leading to huge shortages in the system. I do not think those (immigrants) with life threatening diseases should be treated by NHS”.
There was previously a blanket ban on people living with HIV entering the US, which operated between 1987 and 2009.
Farage said he would also ban those with murder convictions from entering the UK, as well as that he would like to be appointed as minister for Europe at next year’s general election.
He said he would like to be remembered as the man who secured independence from the EU for Britain.
Dr Rosemary Gillespie, chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, condemned Farage for bracketing people who had tested positive for HIV with murderers. She said: “The idea that having HIV should be used as a black mark against someone’s name is ridiculous and shows an outrageous lack of understanding of the issue.
“It is to the UK’s credit that for more than three decades successive governments, no matter their political stamp, have refused to put in place border controls against people living with HIV.
“Major international organisations, including the United Nations, agree that such draconian measures would have no impact on the epidemic.
“In bracketing those living with the condition with murderers, and suggesting there is no place for them in his vision of Britain, Mr Farage has stooped to a new level of ignorance. He should be truly ashamed.”
The comments by Farage came as Douglas Carswell, who defected to UKIP earlier this year, won at the Clacton by-election last night. :Labour’s candidate in the Heywood and Middleton by-election only beat UKIP by just over 600 votes.
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