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Ukip leader Nigel Farage pulls out of an eve of poll EU referendum debate due to family reasons

By Kate Ferguson, Press Association

Nigel Farage has pulled out of Channel 4's live EU referendum debate.

A spokesman for the Ukip leader said he would not be taking part because of "family reasons".

The leading Leave campaigner was due to take part in the TV debate on the eve of the referendum along with dozens of other campaigners from each side.

A spokesman for the broadcaster said Mr Farage pulled out around 2pm and the line up has since been reshuffled.

Ukip had offered their MEP Steven Woolfe to take the place of Mr Farage but the offer was declined, the party said.

The debate, hosted by Jeremy Paxman, will feature Labour's pro-EU campaign leader Alan Johnson and former First Minister of Scotland Alex Salmond for the Remain camp and businessman Theo Paphitis and Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg MP for Leave.

Earlier on Wednesday Nigel Farage refused to apologise for his controversial "breaking point" immigration poster, despite suggestions by his party that he had.

The Ukip leader was quizzed over the poster, which depicts a snaking line of hundreds of immigrants arriving in Europe, after Ukip politician Diane Jones suggested he regretted it.

Speaking in central London, Mr Farage said: "I apologise for the timing and I apologise for the fact that it was able to be used by those who wish us harm.

"But I can't apologise for the truth. And after all, this was a photograph your newspaper carried, this was a photograph that all newspapers carried, it is an example of what is wrong inside the European Union."

He said the decision by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to welcome so many migrants into Europe has "created divisions between countries".

He made his comments following his final speech on the campaign trail urging people to vote Leave in Thursday's referendum.

Speaking to press from all over the world and Vote Leave supporters in Westminster, Mr Farage said: "Let's stop pretending what this European project is - they have an anthem, they are building an army, they have already got their own police force, and of course they have got a flag.

"At the end of the day tomorrow when people vote they have to make a decision - which flag is their's?

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