Ukip's only MP says Nigel Farage was wrong with plan to ban HIV-positive immigrants

 
Ashley Kirk
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Ukip leader Nigel Farage addresses the media with newly elected UKIP MP Douglas Carswell (Source: Getty Images)

Douglas Carswell, Ukip's only MP, has criticised Nigel Farage's comments on immigrants with HIV during the General Election campaign.

During the first leaders' television debate, Farage shocked many by saying that the UK should prevent immigrants with life-threatening illnesses like HIV from entering the country.

Carswell avoided backing Farage's comments at the time, saying only that it is "reasonable to want our national health service to be a national health service and not an international health service".

However, the MP has now revealed his mind, saying that Farage got his comments' tone "wrong on so many levels". He told BBC Radio 5 that:

I think some of the tone we deployed, for example, the comments about HIV, were plain wrong. Wrong on so many levels. Not just wrong because they were electorally unhelpful, but wrong because they were wrong.

Yes, there is a really important case to be made about restricting people’s right to come here and take advantage of our health service ... but there is also something fundamentally generous about this country and I think we should always remember that.

His comments come after infighting broke out in Ukip following Farage's election defeat. The Ukip leader resigned from his position - only to reverse his decision four days later.

Asked about Carswell’s comments, a Ukip spokesman told the Guardian:

The issue of health tourism is both real and costs the NHS millions per year. It is one of many problems that bedevil the NHS, and dealing with it, alongside many other problems is part of a greater package to ensure that the people of this country can access the world-class healthcare they both deserve and expect.

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