PM condemns Ukip 'bongo land' MEP
David Cameron has hit out at a UK Independence Party MEP who said Britain should not send aid to "bongo bongo land".
The Prime Minister branded the comments by Godfrey Bloom "offensive", and insisted helping other countries was in the national interest. Mr Bloom issued a grudging apology "for any genuine offence caused" on Wednesday after being rebuked by the party leadership for his language.
A video of a speech he delivered to activists last month showed him saying: "How we can possibly be giving a billion pounds a month, when we're in this sort of debt, to bongo bongo land is completely beyond me.
"To buy Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris and all the rest of it that goes with most of the foreign aid. F18s for Pakistan. We need a new squadron of F18s. Who's got the squadrons? Pakistan, where we send the money."
Speaking on BBC Breakfast, Mr Cameron mounted a robust defence of aid spending.
"I think it is an offensive remark anyway, but what I think is wrong is this sort of 'stop the world, I want to get off' approach just doesn't work," he said. "Britain is a very open international country. The problems elsewhere come and visit us. So it makes sense I think to have an overseas aid programme that helps solve these problems at source."
Mr Bloom risked further inflaming the row by bizarrely insisting that "bongo land" referred to antelopes.
He told ITV's Daybreak: "These have been interpreted as racist comments, they are not racist at all. If anybody would care to take the trouble to get out the Oxford dictionary this morning and look it up, you'll find that bongo is a white antelope, lives in the forest, there is no connotation of racism about it whatsoever.
"Bongo land is the land of the antelope. Some people have interpreted it as a racist remark but there is no evidence in any dictionary at all that it implies racism."
But shadow international development minister Rushanara Ali said: "It's offensive for sure and the public have shown that they find it offensive. So I think Mr Bloom should apologise, it would do him good, it would do his party good. This is a party that is trying to show that they are reasonable but his comments are completely unacceptable and objectionable and that's what the public are saying."