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Farage hit by egg on campaign visit

Ukip leader Nigel Farage was hit by an egg thrown by a protester as he arrived on a campaign visit today.

Mr Farage arrived in Nottingham to rally support for his East Midlands candidates for the European elections, but as he got out of a car in the city centre he was hit by the egg.

He quickly got back into the car which drove off leaving supporters behind.

The man who threw the egg was holding a placard which said: "Ukip ... sad, scared, old men."

The egg hit Mr Farage on his left shoulder.

The protester, who gave his name as Fred from Nottingham, said he carried out the attack because he does not agree with Ukip policies.

He was put into a patrol car by police and driven away.

Mr Farage then went to the Bell Inn near the city's town hall and ordered a pint of Robin Hood beer.

Nottinghamshire Police later confirmed a man from the city has been arrested on suspicion of assault.

A force spokeswoman said: "Police were called to a report of an assault in Wheeler Gate, Nottingham, at 1.30pm today. A 33-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault and is in police custody."

Speaking about his visit to the city later while enjoying a pint of Robin Hood Ale in The Bell Inn, Mr Farage said he had been to the city before but this visit had been shorter than planned.

He said: "I've been before (to the city) but today's visit was a very brief one I'm afraid. I saw about 15 seconds of it. It's quite tough to judge. Some of the inhabitants are not all that friendly. I'm sure that's not the view of most.

"I've done a lot of active street campaigning, going around markets, things like that. We've had a storm whipped up by the media over the injudicious, or in a couple of cases, offensive comments from a handful of people out of a membership of 37,000 and it's whipped up this kind of storm of hatred among some on the left.

"They're organised, they're taxpayer funded and they're going around the country chasing me around trying to stop us from getting our message out. That is a fundamentally anti-democratic thing to do. It's not good and it's not healthy.

"I'm touring the whole of Britain and today is East Midlands day and we've a team of people standinng for the European elections and we're going to win the European elections here in the East Midlands and of course events of the week have proved that there is also a parlimentary by-election which is going to take place in the East Midlands virtually immediately after the European elections so suddenly politics in this part of the country is going to have more of a focus on it than anywhere else."

The visit to the East Midlands comes after Mr Farage confirmed he not would be standing in the forthcoming Newark by-election, confirmed today as taking place on June 5.

The by-election has been triggered by the resignation of former Tory MP Patrick Mercer.

Mr Farage had said he did not want to look "oportunistic" by standing and said he had no links to the region.

Today he said: "When I saw today that the by-election is going to be on June 5 thank goodness I wasn't stupid enough to stand in a constituency I've only ever visited once in my life in the middle of a major national campaign."

He refused to name any candidates who would be standing for the party in the by-election but said the party expected to make an announcement next Tuesday.

Mr Farage said: "There are lots and lots of people applying and they'll be a shortlisting done over the course of the weekend. The branch will have a meeting and then we will make an announcement next Tuesday.

"We're going to win, I'm confident we're going to win. It will be the most major event in British politics for 100 years. I think that the implications of it are that it will change the Labour party's position on a referendum.

"It will fundamentally shift the centre of gravity of the whole debate in this country about the EU and controlling borders and wasting money and not being able to negotiate our own global trade agreements so this is a very exciting time for Eurosceptics."

Asked about moving his party away from its image of being racist, Mr Farage said: "It's remarkable. You've got 77% of the British population in the British Social Altitude Survey, including over 60% of first and second-generation migrants, who think we need border controls.

"The truth of it is we now have an open door to 485 million people and I want to debate that over the course of the next three weeks. I tried with Nick Clegg to debate this issue - he ignored me.

"Cameron and Miliband won't engage with it. But I think despite all the distractions, I think out there in the street people are debating it and the commonsense position is to say 'Look, immigration sensibly controlled can be a positive thing for society and for our economy but we must have control over the quantity and quality of those that come to our country'.

"We now have this farcical situation where if you're a skilled person from India or New Zealand, you probably won't get in because we have an open door to Romania and Bulgaria and that is absolutely mad from every perspective.

"And I think with this we're right at the centre of where the British public feels, and what we're arguing for is actually very moderate, very logical, and for the establishment to come out and cry racist shows how devoid of any other argument they are."

Mr Farage said Ukip would give people back "their pride and their country".

"We're going to give 'em back their country, we're going to give 'em back their pride and their self respect. We're going to save taxpayers money. We're going to allow small businesses to deregulate," he said.

"If you go out to the coast and speak to people in Boston and places like that, we're going to get our fishing waters back. The whole point of this is it's not what we're against any more.

"We've spent years telling people we were against the EU and why. We don't need to do that any more. The public is against it. What they want to know are the positive alternatives and we're the people talking about the future and the three other parties are trying to defend a crumbling, rotten status quo."

Today's visit also comes after Mr Farage said his party should "possibly not" be taking money from wealthy businessman Demetri Marchessini, who has aired controversial views about rape, homosexuality and slavery.

Mr Marchessini donated another £5,000 in December, months after Ukip sought to distance itself from his claims that women wearing trousers amounted to "hostile behaviour".

He had given £10,000 in two instalments earlier in the year.

In a new interview with Channel 4 News, Mr Marchessini repeated those claims and also declared that there was no such thing as rape within marriage, that there was "no love" in same-sex relationships and that African slaves had a "much better life" in Africa.

Mr Farage told the programme he was "sure the money was taken in good faith" but he did not deal with the party's finances.

Asked by the programme whether Ukip should accept donations from someone with such views, Mr Farage said: "Possibly not, no. But ask the treasurer, I don't run everything."

Asked today whether he supported Mr Marchessini's views, Mr Farage said: "Well no, of course I don't but, you know, do I support the fact that the Labour and Tory parties have given out scores of peerages and knighthoods over the course of the last few years or the fact that the Liberal Democrats took two million quid from a bloke who is now serving 20 years in prison? Do they support his views? No, of course they don't.

"What Channel 4 News is trying to do is to trivialise these European elections and to get us away from the big issues, which are who governs this country, who controls our borders and isn't it time we got that back here for us to be in charge of?"

When asked about the general election, Mr Farage said he would wait and see what happens in the European elections.

"Ask me that after May 22. My feeling is that if we clear this hurdle, if we cause the earthquake in British politics, there will then be an upsurge of confidence and belief that Ukip can be a party not just of principle but a party that in specific areas where it targets can win and if everything went absolutely right, well, who knows, we could find ourselves in the same position that Nick Clegg did in 2010 and make up the balance of power in the next Westminster parliament.

"If that happens, I'll tell you what, there will be a referendum then."


From Belfast Telegraph