Ukip Spokesman Gawain Towler In Race Row After Reference To Journalist's 'Ethnic Extraction'

Updated 18:31, 30/09/13 - Gawain Towler apology and Nigel Farage comments

Ukip's chief spin doctor has landed himself in a race row by remarking on a journalist as “of some form of ethnic extraction.”

Gawain Towler, who is also a candidate in next year's European election, used the phrase to describe Evening Standard reporter Kiran Randhawa.

Ukip press officer Gawain Towler has apologised for his comments

It was contained in a text message sent inadvertently to a journalist.

He wrote: “James, my fault but I told the Standard that Nigel would be arriving at approx. 10.30 this morning. They have called and I expect a snapper and a female journalist (of some form of ethnic extraction) at Piccadilly. Am sorry”

Mr Towler told the Evening Standard the "descriptive" phrase was meant to help his colleague identify the reporter of whose descent he was unsure after speaking to her by telephone.

"If in any way Kiran is upset, I'm terribly sorry," he said.

"I'm finding this absolutely absurd because it is so evidently alien to who I am and what I am. Some people will see racism wherever they wish to find it. That does not make it so."

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said only "very silly" people could think it was a racist comment, saying it his aide was "trying to use a descriptive term after a muffled telephone conversation".

"What would you suggest, prison camp? Forced labour?" he joked when asked if he would be sacked.

Tory MP Nick de Bois however said there was "no room in any walk of life, let alone politics, for this type of racially insensitive language".

Mr Farage will be unhappy if another gaffe from within his party overshadows his attempts to boost his party's profile - after now-sacked MEP Godfrey Bloom wrecked the party's own conference

Ukip has faced a number of charges of racism over the views expressed by its members.

Mr Bloom was recorded criticising giving aid to "bongo bongo land", while last week a councillor said he could not be racist because he enjoyed the hospitality of "coloured people" in the Caribbean.

On the eve of the party's recent conference, leader Nigel Farage defended himself after it was revealed a teacher though he had "fascist" views at school.