04/04/2014 11:42 BST | Updated 04/04/2014 12:59 BST

Nigel Farage: Too Many Young People Are Going To University - And It's All Maureen Lipman's Fault

Matt Cardy via Getty Images
EXETER, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: UKIP party leader Nigel Farage makes his keynote speech to the UKIP 2013 Spring Conference being held in the Great Hall, Exeter University on March 23, 2013 in Exeter, England. Buoyed by recent successes including the by election in Eastleigh where they came second, the party is claiming it is the only one with alternative policies and a vote for UKIP is no longer just a protest vote. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Too many young people going to university to study poor quality degrees, according to Nigel Farage - and it's all the fault of a 26-year-old BT advert.

The Ukip leader is blaming it on actress Maureen Lipman, who in a 1980s BT television advert, told her grandson having an "'ology" made him a scientist.

Mr Farage said his party would cut down the number of university students, which would free up cash to reduce the level of annual tuition fees.

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In a phone-in broadcast on The Telegraph website, he said: "My position is I think we are sending too many youngsters to university.

"I think we are encouraging people to go and get degrees, in many cases not particularly good degrees, and not improving their life chances one little bit.

"I blame Maureen Lipman for the whole thing. If you remember the advert, 'oh he's got an 'ology'.

"So, we have got a lot of people getting 'ologies and I think the way we have demeaned in Britain the idea of people learning skills and trades is just stupid."

He added: "If we get to a position where we are sending fewer people to university then we can substantially reduce the almost standard now £9,000 a year, because that's what it's become, and get it down to a much more realistic level.

"It would be a lovely aspiration to think that we wouldn't have to charge anybody."

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Mr Farage also told Telegraph readers that his low voting record in the European parliament was down the medical treatment he had been receiving since he was injured in a plane crash on election day in 2010 and the demands on his time as party leader.

"I had a plane crash back in 2010 which took me out for a few months. I have since then had some pretty radical major surgery and I'm still going through fairly intensive physiotherapy."

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Apparently it's all this lovely lady's fault

"I have missed a fair few sessions of the parliament over the course of this parliament through ill health," Farage continued.

"I'm also leading a political party in the United Kingdom and Strasbourg is about eight hours door to door from home.

"So, it's difficult to do all of these things."