Ukip politician 'not offensive'

Braintree and Witham Times: Nigel Farage has defended a Ukip councillor who was accused of making offensive remarks. Nigel Farage has defended a Ukip councillor who was accused of making offensive remarks.

A UK Independence Party politician has denied being "offensive or politically incorrect" about immigrants,

Video of Victoria Ayling saying that she wished to "send the lot back" was published by the Mail on Sunday.

But the councillor - a former Conservative election candidate who defected this year - insisted she had been referring only to people in the country illegally.

Party leader Nigel Farage dismissed allegations that she held extreme views as a political smear and indicated his party would stand by her.

Mrs Ayling, a councillor in East Lindsey, Lincolnshire, made the video in 2008, to promote her bid to become a Tory MEP.

The newspaper said it was provided to them by her then husband from whom she has since split, who was operating the camera.

In a section published online, she is seen rehearsing her pitch on the issue - talking about the need to control the numbers arriving in the UK and to repatriate "the illegals and failed asylum seekers".

"That's not quite policy yet. Maybe I should soften it a bit," she adds at one point, going on: "OK. Send them back."

"We must control immigration. We cannot sustain the numbers coming in; the strains on our infrastructure are enormous", she said in a later take.

"Control should be done fairly and the points system like they have in Australia and all those coming here should be encouraged to speak English so they can integrate."

Afterwards, she is heard to say "I just want to send the lot back but I can't say that" before joking that the remark might be used in future to "get back at me, bribery, blackmail".

Earlier this year she made headlines by telling Prime Minister David Cameron publicly at a party conference that she was quitting his party for Ukip.

At the 2010 general election she came within 714 votes of winning Great Grimsby from Labour but then abandoned the Conservatives.

Defending her comments, she told the newspaper it was " nothing different from what the Home Secretary is advocating now anyway.

"I don't think there is anything there that can be seen as offensive or politically incorrect.

"I stand by what I said: illegal immigrants should be sent back home and multiculturalism won't work.

"It was a throwaway comment that has been taken out of context."

Her remark about multiculturalism was that "multiculturalism does not work; Britishness does".

Challenged about that during the filming, she responded: "Multiculturalism is dead, I'm allowed to say that - but maybe Britishness is waving the National Front flag a bit."

Mr Farage said: "I have met her two or three times and I have discussed policy at length before accepting her into the party.

"I had no reason to believe she held views that were extreme or inconsistent with ours. While this comment looks odd and unpleasant there may be a context here that is slightly different to the way it appears."

On Twitter, he decried "an appalling attack on one of our councillors, falsely saying she is against all immigration".

A party spokeswoman said it was clear that Mrs Ayling was referring to illegal immigrants.

"Given that this was before the time Victoria joined Ukip we cannot comment on why this video was made for the Conservatives," she said.

"However, we can vouch for her as a capable and decent councillor and support her through this time."

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