POLITICS

Ukip MEP Nathan Gill Admits Employing 'Dozens' Of Immigrants

04/06/2014 15:02 BST | Updated 04/06/2014 17:59 BST
Ukip

Ukip faced further embarrassment today over revelations that one of its new elected MEPs employed "dozens" of Eastern Europeans, despite the party vehemently warning about EU migrants depriving native Britons of work.

Welsh MEP Nathan Gill's admission that he had employed eastern Europeans and Filipinos to work in his family care company comes after Ukip admitted to employing a firm that used Latvians to hand out election leaflets in Croydon as they were "cheapest".

Previously, Ukip leader Nigel Farage sparked controversy when he suggested that no Briton was good enough to work as his personal assistant, a job currently carried out by his German-born wife.

Gill admitted that the revelations about the migrant workers he had hired "could look bad" given that Ukip warns about the flow of 'cheap labour" from other EU countries hitting native Britons' employment prospects. However, he insisted that it was not hypocritical and that he employed foreign workers "because we could not find workers to do the jobs".

The Ukip MEP revealed that he kept his workers in "bunkhouse" accommodation, explaining that they were "temporary accommodation we offered to people coming from overseas until they could get something more permanent."

He added: "We charged £50 a week inclusive of electricity to people who would be earning between £200 and £300 a week."

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Gill told the Western Mail: "UKIP has never said it wants to stop all immigration - it wants to limit the numbers."

"We had a care home of our own, but mostly our workers were employed on home care contracts we had with Hull City Council and other organisations," he added.

"The workers were paid more than the minimum wage, but not massively more. The amount we could afford to pay was determined by the amount of money we received from the council."

Gill said that the family firm, Burgill Ltd, collapsed after a bank pulled its borrowing facility in the wake of the financial crash.

He said: "My focus at the time was to employ people who would enable us to fulfil as a business the care contracts we had. I can see how this could look bad, but it's a case of 'damned if you do and damned if you don't'.

"If we hadn't employed people from overseas, we'd have been called racist. The fact that we did employ immigrants is leading to charges of hypocrisy."

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A Welsh Labour spokesman said: “That Nathan Gill cannot see the hypocrisy of his actions is totally unbelievable. This is hugely embarrassing for him given only two weeks after he was elected on an anti-immigration platform.

“Having made a living on the backs of cheap labour from eastern Europe it is utterly shameful for him to then stand on a populist platform and decry immigration in an attempt to get elected. Rather than pretend he’s done nothing wrong, Nathan Gill should publicly apologise for his behaviour.”

The revelation will be politically awkward for the party, which used a recent poster campaign to warn: ""26 million people in Europe are looking for work. And whose job are they after?"

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The party's posters also declared that "British workers are hit hard by unlimited foreign labour".

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