POLITICS

Nigel Farage Attacked For 'Scaremongering' Over HIV At TV Leaders Debate

02/04/2015 21:34 BST | Updated 03/04/2015 10:59 BST

Plaid Cyrmu leader Leanne Wood won the first round of applause from the studio audience during the two hour live televised election debate on Thursday night, after she hit back at Nigel Farage's comments about HIV.

Answering a question on the National Health Service, the Ukip leader said: "Here's a fact, and I am sure the other people here will be mortified that I dare to talk about it. There are 7,000 diagnoses in this country every year for people who are HIV positive. It's not a good place for any of them to be, I know.

"Sixty per cent of them are not British nationals. They can come into Britain from anywhere in the world and get diagnosed with HIV and get the retro-viral drugs that cost up to £25,000 per year per patient.

"I know there are some horrible things happening in many parts of the world, but what we need to do is put the NHS there for British people and families, who in many cases have paid into the system for decades."

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Wood was clapped after she stepped in to criticise Farage's comments. "This kind of scaremongering is dangerous, it divides communities and it creates stigma to people who are ill, and I think you ought to be ashamed of yourself," she said.

leanne wood

After the debate had finished, other politicians also attacked Farage for his remarks. Ed Miliband said the Ukip leader should be "ashamed". And when asked about Farage's views on people with HIV, chancellor George Osborne replied: "I'm not going to dignify that with a response".

In a 2014 interview with Newsweek, Farage was asked what sort of people should be allowed to migrate to Britain. "People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start," he replied. At the time, HIV/Aids charity the Terrence Higgins Trust said the Ukip leader should be “truly ashamed” of himself.

Ukip's health spokesperson MEP Louise Bours also distanced herself from her leader and said HIV was a "bad example" to use. "As somebody with personal experience, through very dear friends, HIV is a bad example. I know perfectly helpful, fabulous folk… I think it was an unfortunate example that he used," she said.

Farage was also criticised by others on Twitter for his performance, including Gary Lineker who, not mincing his words, said that the Ukip leader was a "dick".

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