Iain Duncan Smith last night claimed the fact he is "part-Japanese" shows he is not "blaming foreigners" for the high level of migration to the UK.
Speaking on ITV's The Agenda, the former Work and Pensions Secretary cited his own Japanese heritage as he tried to portray himself as not being anti-migrants, but against uncontrolled migration.
Duncan Smith is 1/8 Japanese through his maternal great-grandmother Ellen Oshey - a Japanese woman living in Beijing in the 19th century.
The Tory MP, who is campaigning for the UK to leave the European Union, argued that an uncontrolled influx of migrants into a country fuels far right parties such as the Front National in France.
Duncan Smith also suggested London Mayor Boris Johnson might regret referring to US President Barack Obama as a "part-Kenyan president".
Speaking about controlling the level of migration to the UK, Duncan Smith said: "You want migration but you want to recognise where there are skills shortages. It shouldn't just be about the European Union.
"There are plenty of really smart bright young software engineers in India, for example, that would be great to have in the UK doing work.
"It's about a balance of the skills and requirements. The idea of something like the points system is you get a sense of the people you need to develop the economy and to help work in the UK.
"You'll not then have resentment, annoyance and aggression as a result of that.
He added: 'You need to control migration so that people who are needed can come in and do the jobs.
"It's not about blaming foreigners. I am part Japanese."
Asked about his response to Johnson's reference to Obama's Kenyan ancestry Duncan Smith said: "You are deliberately making something out of something else.
When pushed if he thought Johnson regretted his comments he replied: "I am sure he does. But he's not racist."
Duncan Smith also called on far-right French politician Marine Le Pen to stay away from the UK and out of the referendum debate.
"We've asked for her to be banned but the Home Secretary has refused to do it," he said.
"She won't do it. I want her banned, I don't want her over because I think she will toxify the debate.
"She can't ban her because of the European Union rules. She said she can't do it."