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Nigel Farage singled out foreign-born HIV sufferers in a TV debate and Twitter lost it

The UKIP leader was giving out about ”heath tourism’.

Source: Sky News/YouTube

NIGEL FARAGE HAS been accused of “scaremongering” after singling out foreign-born HIV sufferers after a question about immigration.

Seven UK party leaders were debating live on TV this evening when Farage told the audience that “we’ve got to look out for our own people first”.

The UKIP leader was responding to an audience question about immigration and said he wanted to talk about “health tourism”.

“I’m sure other people will be mortified that I dare to even talk about it,” he said. ”There are 7,000 diagnoses every year for people with HIV, a very bad place for them to be in I know, but 60% of them are not British nationals.”

“You can come to Britain from anywhere in the world and get diagnosed with HIV and get the retroviral drugs that cost up to £25,000 per year per patient. I know there are some horrible things happening in many parts of the world, but what we need to is put the National Health Service there for British people and families who in many cases have paid into this system for decades.”

A poll from ComRes showed that Farage was actually leading among those polled half-way into the two-hour debate, but his comments about HIV after that did not go down well on Twitter.

 

Farage’s comments were also criticised by other leaders in the ITV studio with Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru (The Party of Wales) being the first to shoot them down.

“This kind of scaremongering is dangerous, it divides communities and it creates a stigma to people who are ill and I think you ought to be ashamed of yourself,” she said.

“We’ve got to out our own people first,” responded Farage.

Nicola Sturgeon of the Scottish National Party also criticised the UKIP leader:

When someone is diagnosed with a dreadful illness, my instinct is to view them as a human being not consider what country they come from.

Buzzfeed pointed out that Farage’s figures weren’t entirely accurate. They say the figure of HIV diagnoses was closer to 6,000 people in 2013, of whom 54% were foreign-born.

Overall though, a Youguv poll following the debate put Farage in second place in the debate behind Sturgeon who was widely praised for her performance.

The event is the only time Labour leader Ed Miliband and Prime Minister David Cameron will face each other on TV before the 7 May polling date.

Read: People are using a rather rude hashtag to discuss tonight’s 7-way UK election debate >

Read: UKIP councillor fired over these “deeply racist” comments >

About the author:

Rónán Duffy

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