UKIP's McNarry says his call to deport foreign doctors for parking fines was ludicrous
UKIP's leader in Northern Ireland has described as "ludicrous" his own claim that foreign doctors should be deported for getting parking tickets.
David McNarry had been speaking on the Stephen Nolan Show about his party's manifesto promise that non-nationals who committed a crime in the UK should be kicked out of the country.
He told the Radio Ulster broadcaster that this would include people who were guilty of parking offences.
However, speaking after the live programme had aired, he rowed back on his controversial comments.
The outgoing Strangford MLA - who is not seeking re-election - said threatening to kick immigrants out of Northern Ireland for as little as speeding or traffic convictions was a mistake.
"Perhaps I didn't handle it too well," he said.
"But it's absolutely ludicrous of anybody to be deported because of a parking fine."
Under questioning by Nolan, Mr McNarry replied "yes" several times when asked would matters such as speeding fines and parking tickets be included in his party's policy on deporting foreigners who committed a crime in the UK.
Nolan then used the example of whether a "hard-working" Polish surgeon who received a parking ticket should be deported.
Mr McNarry replied: "It's a crime, yes."
He added: "He has broken the law."
Mr McNarry also said to Nolan during the show: "Come on, you're being extremely emotional about the whole thing, and being nonsensical.
"First of all, it has to be a crime that has been endorsed by the court. You've just gone overboard.
"I'm playing along with you Stephen because you're being... absolutely silly as usual. All this emotional claptrap that you come off with, really, people have had enough of it."
The Nipsa union branded Mr McNarry's comments "clear xenophobia".
Assistant general secretary Bumper Graham said: "David McNarry is out of touch and not living in the real world.
"He is the one that should be deported, because that is where his comments should be - there is no place for them.
"His comments are a disgrace, he should apologise and he should retract them."
Mr McNarry released a statement a few hours after the live show had aired, saying that he felt he needed to clarify his comments.
"Clearly, no one should be deported for a minor offence," he said.
"It is only where a very serious offence occurs, followed by due process and subsequent conviction in the courts, that anyone should be deported.
"This morning's remarks were part of what I considered a silly line of questioning taking an extreme example and blowing it out of all proportion.
"I wanted Stephen Nolan to consider UKIP's deportation policy seriously and not in an extreme light as he did, geared more to entertainment rather than public information.
"Let me make the position absolutely crystal clear - UKIP would not deport anyone for anything other than a serious offence followed by due process and conviction in the courts.
"That is UKIP policy on deportation. UKIP have serious policies on migration and deportation."