Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Bloom overshadows Ukip conference

Ukip leader Nigel Farage claims Britain is "moving Ukip's way"

The UK Independence Party's conference concludes on Saturday after being overshadowed by the actions of one of its MEPs.

Godfrey Bloom had the whip withdrawn after calling women at a conference fringe event "sluts" and hitting a TV journalist with a copy of the gathering's brochure.

Party leader Nigel Farage said he had "destroyed" the conference and his behaviour could not be tolerated.

Mr Bloom insisted the "sluts" remark was a joke but party leader Nigel Farage said the MEP, who is no stranger to controversy, had "gone beyond the pale" this time.

Pressed about the sluts comment, Mr Bloom told Sky News: "I made a joke and said 'oh well you're all sluts' and everybody laughed including all the women."

In a reference to previous comments made by Mr Bloom that he was keen to deal with women's issues because they did not ''clean behind the fridge enough'', a Ukip woman is heard joking: "I too have never cleaned behind my fridge."

Yorkshire and the Humber MEP Mr Bloom is then clearly heard responding "this place is full of sluts" on the audio clip of the meeting recorded by the Huffington Post website.

Mr Bloom also raised eyebrows when he hit Channel 4 journalist Michael Crick over the head with a copy of Ukip's conference guide and then called him a racist. He was confronted by the Channel 4 News political correspondent over why there were "no black faces" on the cover of the conference brochure.

Mr Farage told the conference in Westminster: "We can't have any one individual, however fun or flamboyant or entertaining or amusing they are, we cannot have any one individual destroying Ukip's national conference and that is what he's done today. I'm sad about that but we can't tolerate this."

The row diverted attention from Mr Farage's keynote speech, in which he predicted the party was on course to "cause an earthquake" by winning next year's European elections in what will effectively be a referendum on Britain's future EU membership.

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