20 Sep 2013

Thwack! MEP’s blunders derail Ukip party conference

Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s conference speech is overshadowed by MEP Godfrey Bloom, who refers to a room of female delegates as “sluts” and then whacks Channel 4 News’s Michael Crick over the head.

The MEP said Michael Crick was making a “racist” remark” and then hit him over the head with a copy of the conference guide (see video above).

Godfrey Bloom said: “What a racist comment is that. How dare you. That’s an appalling thing to say. You’re picking people out for the colour of their skin. You disgust me.”

It was not Mr Bloom’s only brush with controversy on Friday. He was also forced to defend his remark that “this place is full of sluts” at a Ukip event to increase the number of women in politics, a comment that angered party leader Nigel Farage and led to him having the party whip withdrawn.

He had been asked about a comment he made in 2004 that “women don’t clean behind the fridge enough”.

One woman said: “I too have never cleaned behind my fridge.” It was at this point that he made his “sluts” remark.

‘You’re all sluts’

He said afterwards: “I made a joke and said ‘oh, well, you’re all sluts’ and everybody laughed, including all the women.”

Party chairman Steve Crowther said: “I have withdrawn the whip from Godfrey Bloom, pending a formal disciplinary hearing.”

Mr Farage said: “The trouble with Godfrey is that, he is not a racist, he’s not an extremist or any of those things and he’s not even anti-women, but he has a sort-of rather old fashioned territorial army sense of humour which does not translate very well in modern Britain.

“What he ought to have learnt is that time and time again he says things that overshadow the whole agenda that Ukip is fighting for. My opinion is Godfrey has gone beyond the pale.”

In August, the Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire MEP was forced to apologise for saying Britain should not send aid to “bongo bongo land“.

‘Immature, public schoolboy mentality’

Green party MP Caroline Lucas said: “Sadly, this immature, public schoolboy mentality is an unpleasant fact of politics, and Ukip seem to excel at it.

“Bloom may well be trying to dismiss this as a joke, but there’s nothing funny about sexism or about a party that tolerates it.”

Mr Farage told Ukip’s annual conference on Friday that the party “fiercely” opposed racism and extremism. This followed the Channel 4 News revelation that teachers at his old school accused him of being “racist” and “fascist”.

On Thursday, Channel 4 News revealed that there was strong evidence that teachers at Dulwich College, where Mr Farage went to school in the late 1970s and early 1980s, believed he was “racist”, “fascist” or “neo-fascist”.

A letter written by Chloe Deakin, a former English teacher at the south London school, urged a colleague to reconsider his decision to appoint Nigel Farage as a prefect in the light of teachers’ concerns about his political views.


Mr Farage told Channel 4 News he was a “troublemaker” at school who “wound people up” with all sorts of views. He said some of the things he said may have been perceived as racist, but were not.

“Of course I said some ridiculous things, not necessarily racist things It depends how you define it,” he said.

“You’ve got to remember that ever since 1968 up until the last couple of years, we’ve not been able in this country intelligently to discuss immigration, to discuss integration, it’s all been a buried subject.”