Nigel Farage has defended the use of the word "chinky", after a Ukip parliamentary candidate was forced to quit for using the term to describe a Chinese woman.
Ukip's candidate for the Basildon South, Kerry Smith stood down from the position earlier this week after a phone conversation he had was leaked to the Daily Mail. In the call he referred to a Chinese woman as "chinky" and gay Ukip members as "disgusting poofters".
Speaking on LBC radio this morning, Farage said Smith was "not suitable" to be an MP, but accused his critics of being snobbish.
“I'm a bit sad, because Kerry Smith is a rough diamond. He's a council house boy from the East End of London, left school early and talks and speaks in a way that a lot of people from that background do.
"I feel a bit sorry for Kerry Smith, because I think he's a genuine fellow."
Farage said "a lot of people" would use the word "chinky" to describe a Chinese meal. "If you and your mates are going out for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?" he asked the presenter.
And asked if he would himself say he was "going for a Chinky", Mr Farage replied: "No, but a lot of people would. I don't think I've ever used that word."
He insisted that only a "small proportion" of Ukip candidates had caused the party problems through their comments, but added: "Of course we have people who do things and say things that are wrong.
"So do the other parties as well. We do not have a monopoly on stupidity, I promise you."
The Ukip leader also defended Smith against accusations of homophobia. "Even the 'poofter' comment, you know, the next sentence he was saying how good another candidate was and the fact he was gay would be an asset to the party," Farage said.
"I think we are very snobbish in London for condemning people for the colloquial language they use, particularly if it's not meant with really unpleasant intent. I don't think in the comments he used he meant malice."
Shadow cabinet minister and Ed Miliband adviser Jon Trickett attacked Farage's implication that working class people frequently use the language that Kerry had.
He told The Huffington Post: "It's totally patronising. The vast majority of people - including working-class people who I represent and mix with daily - are not at all racist and indeed are fair-minded. It's no wonder that some people call him a 'poundshop Enoch Powell'."