Nigel Farage: I can't apologise for immigration poster
Nigel Farage today denied claims by a senior Ukip colleague that he had said sorry for a controversial immigration poster and declared: "I can't apologise for the truth."
The leading Brexiteer provoked a storm last week when he unveiled the ad, which showed a line of Syrian refugees making their way to Europe with the headline 'Breaking Point - the EU has failed us all'.
He later caused further outrage by claiming that the row would not have happened if the poster had not been published shortly before the killing of Labour MP Jo Cox.
At the live BBC EU referendum debate last night, Ukip deputy chairwoman Diane James claimed Mr Farage had apologised for the poster.
But at a press conference this morning, Mr Farage insisted that was not the case.
He said: "I apologised for the timing and I apologised for the fact that it was able to be used by those who wish us harm, but I can't apologise for the truth.
"I mean after all, this is a photograph that your newspaper carried, it's a photograph that all newspapers carried. It's an example, actually, of what is wrong inside the European Union. We have a eurozone crisis with a Greek bailout coming back in July and I'm afraid what Mrs Merkel has done has led to massive divisions between and within European countries.
"I would just say this, though, on posters - the one poster that no one seems to talk about, the one really offensive and abusive poster was put out by an organisation encouraging people from the ethnic minorities to vote, showing a skinhead menacing an elderly Asian lady and that was an absolute disgrace."
Former Labour minister Yvette Cooper, who is now head of the party's refugee taskforce, today joined in the condemnation of the Ukip poster.
She said: "I think there has been too much vitriol, too much division as part of this. I think the Nigel Farage posters that were encouraging people to feel hatred and hostility towards refugees fleeing conflict and persecution were appalling.
"The idea that you would take refugees in the Balkans who are hundreds of miles from here and to say that we should feel hatred towards them I think is morally wrong and I'm really sorry that Nigel Farage has refused to apologise for that poster today. I think he should have done so."
Mr Farage said he wanted people to choose between the Union Flag and the EU flag when deciding how to vote tomorrow - and said "the establishment are very, very scared" that Brexit could win.
He added: "I want us to vote for Britain to become independent, I want us to vote to become democratic, I want us to vote to become a normal country."