Nigel Farage has rejected suggestions he bears some responsibility for an apparent spike in race hate after the Brexit vote, and claimed he had “destroyed” the far-right in Britain.
Sporting a newly-grown bushy moustache, Mr Farage claimed UKIP won over protest voters who previously backed the “genuinely anti-Jew, anti-Black” British National Party (BNP).
The former UKIP leader was accused of stooping to racist imagery during the referendum campaign with the infamous “Breaking Point” poster depicting streams of brown-skinned refugees fleeing to the EU.
A surge in reports of xenophobic and racist hate crime following the June 23 vote prompted the new Government in the UK to launch a new action plan to deal with it, which includes an assessment of the police response by watchdogs.
But Mr Farage rejected the idea that some of the rhetoric of the Brexit campaign may have contributed to the spike in incidents.
He told Sam Delaney’s News Thing on RT UK: “Let’s just be fair; there were some horrendous things said on both sides – there were some on the Brexit side who hurled racist abuse at Polish people or whatever… Yeah, it happened, right.
“Equally, there were some on the Remain side who said insults and threats through social media to those who were prominent on the Brexit side.
“But let me say this to you: do I feel responsible for people saying extreme things? Quite the reverse.
“I destroyed the British National Party – we had a far-right party in this country who genuinely were anti-Jew, anti-Black, all of those things, and I came along, and said to their voters, if you’re holding your nose and voting for this party as a protest, don’t.
“Come and vote for me – I’m not against anybody, I just want us to start putting British people first, and I, almost single-handedly, destroyed the far-right in British politics.”
He added: “If I hadn’t been around, and done what I’d done, that strain of opinion would’ve been represented by (former BNP leader) Nick Griffin, and the BNP, and would genuinely have been motivated by hate. I’m not motivated by that, I’m not against anybody.”