Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom: 'Bongo Land Is The Land Of The Antelope'

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GODFREY BLOOM BONGO ANTELOPE
Getty/ITV

Most politicians accused of racism might be expected to promptly apologise and then lay low for a while. Not Godfrey Bloom.

The Ukip MEP has spent the last 24 hours touring TV and radio studios, insisting that there was not racist intent or meaning behind his characterisation of places that receive UK development aid as "bongo bongo land".

He told ITV's Daybreak on Thursday morning that the word was actually the name of a type of "white" animal. And, therefore, not racist

"If anybody would care to take a look at the Oxford dictionary this morning, they would find 'bongo' is a white antelope that lives in the forest," he said.

He added: "There is no connotation of racism about whatsoever. 'Bongo land' is the land of the antelope."

The explanation was met rather sceptically by the ITV interviewer: "You weren't talking about a white antelope were you?"

Bloom replied: "The point I'm making is some people have interpreted it as a a racist remark, but there is no evidence in any dictionary at all that it implies racism."

Unfortunately for Bloom many people appear unconvinced by his explanation, especially considering the "Bongo' antelope is, technically, more orange and brown than white.

The MEP had a similarly bizarre run in with incredulous TV presenters on Wednesday evening, when he ended up walking out of an interview with Channel 4 News.

During that interview Bloom offered up another intriguing defence of his controversial phrase. "President Bongo of Gabon, the current president of Gabon, and his name is Bongo," he explained. (The current president of Gabon is Ali Bongo Ondimba.)

Bloom later added: "I cant remember really what I meant."

It is not the first time that Ukip MEPs have been embroiled in a row over the term "bongo bongo" - but, on a previous occasion, it was on the other side of the argument. Earlier this year, Ukip leader Nigel Farage expelled an Italian MEP from his European parliamentary group after he referred to the Italian government as "bongo bongo" for appointing a black minister.

Meanwhile, speaking on BBC Breakfast today, David Cameron condemned Bloom's remarks and mounted a robust defence of aid spending. "I think it is an offensive remark anyway, but what I think is wrong is this sort of 'stop the world, I want to get off' approach just doesn't work," he said.

"Britain is a very open international country. The problems elsewhere come and visit us. So it makes sense I think to have an overseas aid programme that helps solve these problems at source."