Watch Farage Tell Paxman He Has A Problem With Romania And It's Ok To Be Homophobic If You're Old (VIDEO)

Farage Takes On Paxman On Newsnight

Nigel Farage has been dealing with the fallout from his Friday interview on LBC with James O'Brien for which he has been accused of making racist comments.

The Ukip leader decided to try and draw a line under the row by going toe-to-toe with BBC Newsnight's Jeremy Paxman on Monday evening.

The interview was the billed as a high profile collision between the programme's outgoing veteran presenter and the insurgent politician.

For Farage it was a chance to undo some of the damage done by his suggestion people should be worried if Romanians were to move in next door and for Paxman it was a chance to remind everyone it was he, not O'Brien, who was top dog.

Paxman began by asking Farage: "What's your problem with Romanians?" The Ukip leader has been attacked by David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg for his decision to focus on Romanian immigrants as a source of crime.

The Ukip leader responded that he had "no problem with Romanians" but that he had "a big problem with Romania".

He added: "I visited the country. Communism fell just over twenty years ago. It has not made the transition to being a modern Western democracy."

Farage told Newsnight that Romania was "in the grip of organised crime" and that the "Romanian problem is very much more serious" than any crime committed by people from other EU member states.

On Monday morning Ukip took out an advert in The Daily Telegraph using police statistics on Romanian criminals to back up his comments on LBC. However he admitted to Paxman that the adverts claim that 7% of crime was committed by Romanians was incorrect.

And that the Ukip advert should have said it 7% of "criminal networks" were Romanian. "It was simplified. It was criminal networks not crime," Farage told Paxman.

Ukip has been under intense scrutiny by the press in recent weeks over controversial comments made by several of its candidates and politicians.

Farage said that the "singling out of some of our idiots" by the media had "led to a growing number of people despising Ukip and believing that we are racist party".

Paxman also challenged Farage over the anti-gay comments made by some Ukip figures, including MEP and Newark by-election candidate Roger Helmer. "You've got open homophobes in the party, haven't you?" he asked.

Defending his party, Farage said: "Can you name me a party that hasn't got people [with those views], particularly people over the age of 70, who were brought up at a time when they were taught at school this was wrong?

"This generation was taught to believe this was wrong. For many people of this age and older they still find it difficult."

Asked by Paxman whether it would still be ok "to be a racist at 70", Farage replied: "Err no. And actually and you will find very few of those."

Ukip is expected to top the poll in this Thursday's elections to the European parliament. Farage hopes the victory will be a springboard towards success at the 2015 general election.


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