UKIP MP Douglas Carswell: Nigel Farage’s comments about HIV were ‘plain wrong’
UKIP’s only MP Douglas Carswell has attacked party leader Nigel Farage over comments he made about HIV-positive migrants and “health tourism” in the lead up to the general election.
During April’s BBC Leaders’ Debate, Mr Farage repeated for a third time a claim that the NHS shouldn’t treat “foreigners with HIV”– despite his previous statistics being proven to be false.
When asked which kinds of people should be allowed to enter the UK in October, Mr Farage said: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start.”
Mr Carswell, whose father Wilson Carswell was a pioneer of HIV/AIDS research, previously defended the comments on a special episode of Question Time, but was taken to task by Piers Morgan.
The pair previously clashed after Mr Farage went back on a pledge to resign as party leader when he failed to be elected in South Thanet.
However, Mr Carswell has said he thought the party “didn’t do as well as it wanted to”, and that the comments about HIV were “plain wrong… at so many levels.”
On BBC Radio 5’s Pienaar’s Politics, Mr Carswell said: “[Nigel Farage] has always been the leader of UKIP and I’ve never, never questioned that at all.
“But I think it’s really, really, really, really important, really important that any party that didn’t do as well as it wanted to do asks awkward questions of itself.
“I think some of the tone that we deployed – for example the comments about HIV I think were plain wrong. Wrong at so many levels. Not just wrong because they were electorally unhelpful but just wrong because they were wrong.”
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Going on, he said that people should “always remember” that there is something inherently generous about Britain.
He said: “Some of the things we said ….There’s something wonderfully generous about this country and there’s something wonderfully good and right about this country and if we frame debates that are mean-spirited I think a lot of people in this country will be put off.
“Yes, there’s a really important case to be made about restricting people’s right to come here and take advantage of our health service and we need to make sure it is not an international health service, but there’s also something fundamentally generous about this country and I think we should always remember that.”