Video of an interview with Nigel Farage, the leader of the U.K. Independence Party.
In a contentious radio interview that sounded at moments like Absurdist theater, the leader of the anti-immigrant U.K. Independence Party, Nigel Farage, denied on Friday that his attacks on foreign-born migrants were racist.
Mr. Farage, a member of the European Parliament who blames membership in the European Union for a host of economic and social problems, was asked about comments he made in February, when he said he was uncomfortable during a recent train journey in London when he could hear only foreign languages being spoken by fellow passengers.
After Mr. Farage said that he was only expressing discomfort “at the rate and pace of change and numbers of people coming to London,” the interviewer with the talk radio station LBC, James O’Brien, pointed out that Mr. Farage’s wife is a German and presumably speaks the language in his presence.
“Yeah, I don’t suppose she speaks it on the train,” Mr. Farage replied, “that’s the point I’m making.”
“Why not? Is she not allowed to?” Mr. O’Brien asked. “Can’t she speak German wherever she wants?”
“Of course people are allowed to,” Mr. Farage said.
Moments later, Mr. Farage — whose party was once described by Prime Minister David Cameron as a collection of “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists,” but is now polling ahead of the Conservatives in European elections scheduled for this month — was asked to explain why another statement, that he would be disturbed if a group of Romanians moved next door to his home, was not racist.
“What about if a group of German children did, what’s the difference?” Mr. O’Brien asked.
“You know what the difference is,” Mr. Farage replied. “We want an immigration policy based on controlling not just quantity but quality as well,” he added.
His comments were later mocked by The Sun, a popular London tabloid whose owner, Rupert Murdoch,…