UK & World News
Nigel Farage: UKIP Policies Not Racist
Nigel Farage has rejected claims that UKIP's policies heading into the European elections are racist.
The UKIP leader launched his party's election drive in Sheffield on Tuesday afternoon, amid controversy over their campaign posters.
Labour MP Mike Gapes said one of the posters - which implied 26 million Europeans were after British jobs - was "racist".
But asked whether giving British workers preferential treatment was indeed racist, Mr Farage told Sky News: "I think it's the job of the Government to make sure it puts British people and their interests first, yes. Of that there is no question.
"I don't think it can be deemed racist in any way.
"We've never in our history had a complete open door, and now we have one to 485 million people.
"I don't think we should have a complete open door to the labour market in this country from the European Union."
Speaking earlier to launch the campaign, Mr Farage predicted an "earthquake in British politics" when voters take to the polls in the European elections on May 22.
The Eurosceptic leader declared: "I think we will win."
"These are the most important European elections that have ever been fought in this country," he told the gathered crowd.
"We've got a chance four and a half weeks from now to cause such a shock in the British political system that it will be nothing short of an earthquake.
"If UKIP wins these elections, a referendum and a chance to get back control of our country will be one massive, massive step closer."
Mr Farage stood on an election van - which carried one of the controversial posters - and told reporters UKIP were mounting their "biggest and most professional campaign" ever.
UKIP donor Paul Sykes†- who used to help finance the Tories - also attended the launch.
He had a heated exchange with a journalist who asked how much money he'd spent on the campaign.
"I haven't stopped spending yet," he said, before turning questioner himself. "How much do you think self-governance of this country is worth?"
Pressed again, Mr Sykes offered an approximate figure of £1.2m or £1.4m.
Labour Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Jim Murphy, believes the media are placing too much emphasis on UKIP's advertising campaign.
He told Sky News: "Unfortunately, and understandably perhaps, the media's attention will be on posters rather than UKIP's manifesto, because while these posters are certainly controversial and play upon people's worst fears, the real worry about UKIP is the detail of their policies."