Nigel Farage has told a TV audience member to "calm down" after they accused him of scaremongering over immigration.
Speaking during the ITV EU Special, the Ukip leader said he had been “demonised” after claiming that staying in the EU could lead to Cologne-style mass sex attacks on the streets of the UK.
He also lashed out at the audience for suggesting that he had no support among black Britons. "I can't do a lot...unless I'm allowed to talk..There is big support for me among our ethnic minorites," Farage claimed
The clashes came minutes before David Cameron was grilled by the same ITV audience for his own failures to control immigration.
The Prime Minister, who urged viewers to back 'Great Britain' not 'Little England', was jeered when he admitted he couldn't put a figure on how much his Brussels renegotiation would cut foreign national numbers.
What was billed as the biggest moment of Farage's career saw him take centre stage first, and he was soon asked about his controversial use of the migration issue.
Last weekend, Farage told the Telegraph the “cultural issues” between migrants from North African countries and Europe was a “nuclear bomb” after being asked if he feared Cologne-style attacks in the UK.
On Tuesday evening, an audience member took Farage to task over the comments, saying: “You have basically suggested that vote to Remain is a vote for British woman to be subdued to same horrific assaults.”
The Ukip leader hit back: “Just calm down there a little bit alright. Sometimes in life what it says at the top of the newspaper page and what you’ve actually said can be slightly different things. I’m used to being demonised because I’ve taken on the establishment.”
“Aren’t you demonising migrants?” responded the audience member.
Farage responded: “What I said about Cologne is it’s a huge issue in Germany, it’s a huge issue in Sweden.
“I think Angela Merkel has made a big mistake by saying please everyone come and what we’ve had is a very large number of young single males have settled in Germany and in Sweden who come from cultures where attitudes towards women are different. I haven’t scaremongered in any way at all.”
Farage came under fire on Tuesday from the Archbishop of Canterbury over his sex attack remarks, with Justin Welby telling the Home Affairs Committee that he had been 'legitimizing racism'.
But the UKIP leader claimed he had been misquoted.
"I’m not going to stand here and attack the Archbishop of Canterbury but I think he would have done better to have read actually what I said, not what the headline was," he said.
"And he would do well to see what the head of the Roman Catholic Church in Germany has said, because he’s made some very robust comments indeed."
In the ITV spin room, Labour MP afterwards told PoliticsHome: "Farage got the tone wrong when he told that young woman to 'calm down'. I thought that was very patronising.
"And then getting the British passport out was a bit cheesy, really I thought. It was 'here's Nigel again playing his slightly hackneyed old tricks".
The Telegraph interview wasn’t the first time Farage had linked EU migration to mass sexual assaults.
Speaking in Westminster, he said: “As we saw outside that train station in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, what we saw was the mass open sexual molestation of hundreds of women appearing in public.
“Frankly if we are prepared to accept, or if Germany and Sweden are prepared to accept, unlimited numbers of young males, from countries and cultures where women are at best second-class citizens then frankly, what do you expect?
More than 1,000 men were reported to have carried out the assaults on New Year’s Eve across Germany, with three allegations of rape in Cologne and two allegations in Hamburg.
Of the 58 arrested in connection with the attacks, 25 were Algerian, 21 were Moroccan, three were Tunisian, three were German, two were Syrian and one was Iraqi.
Just three of the 58 suspects were refugees, local public prosecutor Ulrich Bremer confirmed.
Cameron faced his own grilling, with several audience members saying his own manifesto pledge to reduce net migration to below 100,000 a year was undermined by uncontrolled incomers from the EU.
Asked by ITV moderator Julie Etchingham to forecast by how many migration would fall as a result of his EU renegotiation, the PM provoked a jeer.
"I haven't made a forcast because frankly we've had pretty extraordinary years in the European Union," he said.
"The first five years I was Prime Minister, our economy created more jobs than the rest of the European Union put together."
Cameron's defence suggested that at some point in the future the eurozone economies would pick up once more to reduce the 'pull factor' attracting EU nationals to the UK.
Suggested For You
Get top stories and blog posts emailed to me each day. Newsletters may offer personalized content or advertisements. Learn more