Ukip MEP Godfrey Bloom, who was filmed saying that we shouldn’t be giving aid to “bongo-bongo land” has defended his comments on the BBC’s Today programme.
He told the programme:
When a country has a trillion pounds of debt and we’re cutting our hospitals, our police force, and we’re destroying our defence services that the money should stay at home and people who want to give money to worthwhile charities, and I’m very glad that the money is going in that particular instance, but what I would argue is that it is for the individual citizen, it is not for the likes of David Cameron to pick our pockets and send money to charities of his choice. If I want to send money to charity, I’ll do it of my own accord, thank you.
In response to a reminder that David Cameron was elected, Bloom retorted: “So am I”. He did however conceded that he didn’t know where “bongo-bongo land” was, adding that he also didn’t know the location of “Ruritania” or “the third world”.
His original comments were made at a meeting in Wordsley, near Stourbridge. The video, obtained by the Guardian, showed him making the following remarks:
We’ve been let down time and time again, and how we can possibly be giving a billion pounds a month when we’re in this sort of debt to bongo-bongo land is completely beyond me. To buy Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris and all the rest of it that goes with most of the foreign aid. F18s for Pakistan. We need a new squadron of F18s. Who's got the squadrons? Pakistan, where we send the money.
Ukip have issued a statement saying that Bloom’s remarks are being "discussed right at the very highest level of the party". When asked how he would feel if his party told him to reign in his language, Bloom said:
I'd say right-o, sorry. If I have offended anybody in bongo bongo land, I will write to their ambassador at the court of St James’.
He also said that the sending of “a billion pounds a month going abroad with no audit trail” was “treason”.
Finally, he rejected the idea that anyone could find his comments offensive, saying that:
I’m standing up for ordinary people at the pub, the cricket club, the rugby club – the sort of people who remain completely unrepresented in the political system that we have.
UPDATE 07/08/2013 10:07
Ukip have released a statement about Godfrey Bloom's comments:
We're asking Godfrey not to use this phrase again as it might be considered disparaging by members from other countries.