Ukip leader Nigel Farage has been slammed by a leading charity after suggesting that migrants with HIV should be prevented from entering the UK.
Farage said in an interview that preventing people with the condition entering the country would be a "good start" in controlling the UK's borders.
And he later defended his comments on Sky News, saying: "We cannot take people with life-threatening diseases. The NHS is here for our people.”
Nigel Farage suggested that migrants with HIV should be prevented from entering the UK
The chief executive of HIV/Aids charity Terrence Higgins Trust accused Farage of stooping to a "new level of ignorance" and Labour MP David Lammy said he was "trying to revive the very worst bigotry" of the 1980s.
In an interview with Newsweek Europe, Farage set out the changes he would like to see, including a block on convicted killers being allowed into the UK, referring to the prime suspect in the Alice Gross murder case.
Convicted killer Arnis Zalkalns, from Latvia, was found hanged in Boston Manor Park, west London, on October 4, near where Alice was last seen on August 28 as she walked back to her family home in Hanwell. "It's simple. That Latvian convicted murderer shouldn't have been allowed here," Farage said, saying he wanted "to control the quantity and quality of people who come" to the UK.
Asked by Newsweek whether "quality" meant people without a murder conviction, he answered: "Yes. And people who do not have HIV, to be frank. That's a good start. And people with a skill. That is what Britain should do.
"I have never said that we should not take refugees. We have a proud record of accepting refugees, and that must be continued."
The Terrence Higgins Trust's chief executive Dr Rosemary Gillespie 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."
Nigel Farage wants to keep people with HIV out of Britain. I want to keep ignorance and fear out of Britain.
— Patrick Strudwick (@PatrickStrud) October 9, 2014
Nigel Farage, casually stigmatising people with HIV. But he's got a pint of ale in his hand! He appears in Paddy Power adverts! What a lad!
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) October 9, 2014
Hard to know where to start with this. Farage trying to revive the very worst bigotry of the 80s. Shameful. pic.twitter.com/qyWzdcPg26
— David Lammy (@DavidLammy) October 9, 2014
New level of disgust at Farage tonight. Not a clue about the facts around #HIV. Blatant discrimination.
— Pamela Nash MP (@pamela_nash) October 9, 2014
Tory MP Henry Smith told The Guardian: "It's official - Nigel Farage doesn't care about the long-term future of our country. All he's interested in is the next publicity stunt. With offensive gimmicks like this he's shown he has no credible plan to tackle the uncontrolled mess that Labour left our immigration system in."