UK & World News

  • 10 May 2014, 0:57

Cameron: UKIP Guilty Of 'Appalling Remarks'

David Cameron has launched an aggressive attack on UKIP, questioning its "competence" and accusing its candidates and financial backers of making "truly appalling remarks".

In an exclusive interview with Sky News Political Editor Adam Boulton, the Prime Minister intensified his criticism of the Eurosceptic party.

"Look at what some of their candidates have said, and what some of their financial backers have said during this campaign," Mr Cameron said.

"Some truly appalling remarks about rape in marriage or (that) black people should go to Africa."

The PM said the individuals should be "condemned" for the comments.

He said: "It is worth making the point if you can't control your candidates and financial backers it does raise a very real issue about the competence of your party."

The comments represent a marked change in tone by the Conservative leader amid mounting pressure from UKIP, which pollsters say could top the polls at European elections in two weeks.

But the tougher rhetoric could attract criticism from within his own party, with some MPs warning it is imperative to treat UKIP, and its potential voters, with respect.

Mr Cameron has come under attack previously for comments made in 2006 in which he described Mr Farage's party as a bunch of "fruit cakes and loonies and closet racists".

The Prime Minister did not go as far today, but he did reiterate his view that UKIP members have been guilty of unacceptable comments.

He also rejected the suggestion that his position as Prime Minister would become untenable if he were to lose the Scotland referendum this autumn.

"I don't accept that ... It is the future of Scotland on the ballot paper - tragically, I don't have a vote."

Mr Cameron sought to justify his decision to give the people of Scotland a referendum this autumn, pointing out that Labour and the Lib Dems backed the decision in 2011.

He insisted it was the "sensible" and "grown up" option given that the Scots had voted for the SNP and Alex Salmond.

He said: "We live in a democracy. There are three decisions to make - do we stay together as the United Kingdom? Do we stick to the long term economic plan that we have at the next general election? And do we stay in a reformed European Union.

"I don't believe we solve these problems by ducking them. You can't hold people in a United Kingdom or EU against their will. The British people should decide."

He said British support for the EU "has worn wafer thin" because no one consulted the public over treaties such as Maastricht, Lisbon, Nice and Amsterdam.

Asked about the televised leaders' debates, the Prime Minister insisted he was "keen" and that they had been an "important" part of the last election.

But he would not commit himself to the same plan as last time in which three party leaders stood together.

Instead, he hinted that he would like to go head-to-head with Labour leader Ed Miliband.

"We've got to find a format that people are all happy with. There is a good case for saying the potential Prime Minister's should debate," he said.

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