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Nigel Farage says party whip should be withdrawn from MEP Godfrey Bloom after 'sluts' comment and altercation with journalist

Farage had just an hour before spoken of his party 'growing up'

By John Hall

The Ukip leader Nigel Farage has said the party whip should be withdrawn from controversial MEP Godfrey Bloom over "beyond the pale" comments he made during the party's conference.

In two separate incidents Mr Bloom first branded a room full of women “sluts” before calling a Channel 4 news reporter "racist" and hitting him in the face with a brochure.

After a female Ukip member made a joke about his recent comments that "a women’s place is cleaning behind the fridge", Bloom cheerily shouted "this place is full of sluts", to the amusement of the audience.

Confronted by journalists outside the event, Bloom dismissed his comment as "a joke", insisted all the women at the meeting had laughed, and called Sky News’s Dan McCaffrey "a sad little man".

Channel 4 news’ Michael Crick then asked Bloom why the Ukip conference brochure had no black people on the cover, a question that appeared to infuriate Bloom.

Snatching the magazine from Crick’s hand, Bloom said: “What a racist comment is that? How dare you? That’s an appalling thing to say”.

He added: “You’re picking people out for the colour of their skin? You disgust me. Get out of my way”.

Bloom then took off down the street pursued by a number of reporters and, as the reporter continued his line of questioning, declared: “What an appalling man… you sir are a racist”.

Marching angrily along the street, Bloom then branded Crick “disgraceful” before hitting him over the head with the brochure and throwing it to the floor.

The Ukip leader Nigel Farage, who had just an hour before spoken of his party "growing up", later indicated that Mr Bloom should lose the party whip over the incidents.

He told Sky News: "It sounds very, very stupid indeed. I'm not going to make any predictions now. I don't run the discipline of the party - the party chairman does - but there comes a point when people do cross too far over a line."

Asked if he would apologise to the women at the event, Mr Farage replied: "Not right at this moment in time. I need to find out the facts of this case. If everything you tell me is true, then of course."

As Mr Bloom took to the stage in Westminster Central Hall, London, for his keynote Ukip party conference speech, session chairman Jane Collins introduced him as a "lovely man" before outlining his background and career.

She added to laughter among the audience: "He is one of Ukip's most enigmatic speakers."

Mr Bloom, who was speaking about defence, thanked party activists for their efforts and described them as the "foot soldiers" who do the hard graft.

The ex-soldier, to more laughter, said: "It's also good to know who your friends are."

During his speech earlier Nigel Farage had told of the “blistering row” he'd had with Bloom after the latter expressed displeasure over the amount of foreign aid being given to what he controversially called “Bongo Bongo Land”.

Elsewhere in the his speech, the Ukip leader said his party may hold the balance of power in the 2015 General Election after predicting “a political earthquake” at the European elections next year.

Farage added that he felt the UK would prosper by “going it alone” and leaving the European Union, suggesting that doing so would “open a door to the world”.

Describing his party as “true Europeans”, Farage went on to claim credit for influencing the immigration debate in Britain and predicted Ukip would overtake the Lib Dems in terms of members by 2015.

Additional reporting by the Press Association.

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