Ukip MEP regrets 'bongo' offence
The UK Independence Party Euro MP who said Britain should not send aid to "bongo bongo land" said he sincerely regrets "any genuine offence which might have been caused".
Godfrey Bloom was filmed questioning the UK's overseas aid spending, claiming recipients spend it on luxuries such as Ray-Ban sunglasses and "apartments in Paris".
In a statement, the Ukip MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, said he regretted any "genuine offence" caused and any embarrassment to his colleagues.
Mr Bloom said he never intended to cause any offence and now understood that he must not use the phrase "bongo bongo land" in the future.
He said: "At a public speech in the West Midlands in early July, I used a term which I subsequently gather under certain circumstances could be interpreted as pejorative to individuals and possibly cause offence.
"Although quite clearly no such personal usage was intended, I understand from Ukip party chairman Steve Crowther and leader Nigel Farage that I must not use the terminology in the future, nor will I and sincerely regret any genuine offence which might have been caused or embarrassment to my colleagues.
"My aim, successful as it appears, was to demonstrate the immorality of sending £1 billion per month abroad when we are desperately short of money here. Ring-fenced overseas aid at nearly 70% of estimated GDP growth next year, some to buy arms - Mirage fighters in Argentina is just one example. My constituents come first and always will, they put me here to speak for them."
Earlier, Mr Bloom told Sky News he did not believe the phrase "bongo bongo land" was racist, suggesting it only offended those in the "Westminster bubble" and that his constituents in Yorkshire did not take offence.
Mr Bloom insisted he was trying to open up debate on Britain's overseas aid spending, saying he was standing up for ordinary people and that he believed charity begins at home.
Ukip chairman Steve Crowther admitted the term "could seem disparaging" but denied it was racist. He told Sky News: "It's very odd to be asked why something isn't racist. In my opinion it is a rather outdated description of foreign parts."