Nigel Farage has denied he is being hypocritical for warning about Europeans taking British jobs while at the same time employing his German-born wife as his secretary.
Farage was challenged by the BBC's political editor Nick Robinson following the launch of the Ukip European election campaign that includes billboard posters warning that "British workers are hit hard by unlimited foreign labour".
Robinson asked: "You've warned about Europeans taking British jobs, your wife is German, she is your secretary, she is paid for by the British taxpayer. Is your wife taking somebody else's job?"
The Ukip leader replied: "No, because I don't think anyone else would want to be in my house at midnight going through emails and getting me briefed for the next day."
"She earns a very modest salary for working very unsociable hours for me," he said. "It's a very different situation to a mass of hundreds of thousands of people coming in and flooding the lower ends of the labour market."
Robinson pressed on: "No British person could work for you as your secretary?" Farage hit back: "Not unless I marry them ... I don't know anyone who would work those kind of hours."
Farage has bet everything on Ukip doing well in the European parliamentary elections on May 22 and anything less than first place will be viewed as a failure.
As the campaign gets fully underway the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats have all stepped up their attacks on the anti-EU party.
On Tuesday morning Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames, the grandson of Winston Churchill, tweeted: "At a time when our country really needs to come together, the Ukip advertising campaign is deeply divisive,offensive and ignorant."
Yesterday Tory peer Lord Debden also said the poster campaign showed "Ukip stands for the worst in human beings: our prejudice, selfishness, and fear".
And Labour MP Mike Gapes has attacked the posters as "racist". Writing in the New Statesman today, he said: "The policies of the nationalist right, whether of Ukip here or Le Pen or Wilders, are a threat to the future harmony of our country and also to the future harmony and prosperity of the EU.
"That is why all British, Commonwealth or European citizens living in this country should make sure they are registered to vote, and vote to defeat the Ukip extremists on 22 May."Suggest a correction