UKIP MEP Roger Helmer, who claimed that “homosexuality not a valid lifestyle worthy of respect”, is under fresh scrutiny for writing that he “cannot understand” why politicians are opposed to voluntary repatriation.

Helmer, who is running for Parliament next week in the Newark by-election next week, has previously said the public should be able to freely and openly dislike gay people, as they would different types of tea.

He also said homosexuality is not a lifestyle worthy of respect, and claimed that the media are “obsessed” with sexuality.

Today, the Guardian reports that Helmer wrote in his book, A Declaration of Independence, that he cannot understand why people are opposed to voluntary repatriation – where people who entered the UK legally are given financial incentives to leave.

The policy is a cornerstone of far-right politics, and it was only in the manifesto of the British National Party at the last elections.

In his 2002 book, Helmer wrote: “I was surprised by the vehemence with which some party spokesmen attacked the concept of voluntary repatriation.

“It was described in the most intemperate language – ‘abhorrent’ was one of the milder words used.

“I have even seen the idea of voluntary repatriation compared to ethnic cleansing. This is a lunatic comparison.”

UKIP leader Nigel Farage attempted to defend Helmer from accusations of homophobia last week, claiming that “most” over-70s feel uncomfortable about gays.