1. ITV Report

'Hard hitting' or 'racist'? Opinion divided on Ukip's new poster campaign

One Labour MP labelled Ukip's new advertising campaign 'racist'. Photo: Ukip

Ukip's advertising blitz ahead of next month's European Parliament campaign has, perhaps unsurprisingly, divided opinion.

The billboards take aim at various aspects of EU policy, especially free movement of labour, which the eurosceptic party says is taking jobs away from British workers.

One poster claims 26 million unemployed Europeans are "after" British jobs, while another depicts a British construction worker reduced to begging under the tagline "British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour".

One of the posters which has caused a stir. Credit: UKIP

Labour MP Mike Gapes labelled the posters "racist", while the leader of the UK's Catholic church, Cardinal Vincent Nichols, *made a general appeal *to avoid language that would "dismay or distress at all these people coming to this country".

This poster takes aims at European politicians' expenses. Credit: UKIP

Ukip leader Nigel Farage gave a typically forthright response on Daybreak this morning, claiming the political establishment were using a "classic trick" to shut down debate about immigration.

There is no angry language, there is cool and calm language. What we are saying is, we are not against anybody from any part of the world, but we have an open door to 485 million people from the rest of Europe, many from poor countries.

The man putting his money behind the campaign, multimillionaire businessman Paul Sykes, is equally unapologetic about the posters' message. He has written in today's Daily Telegraph defending the campaign.

I view Ukip’s new advertising campaign – which I am funding to the tune of £1.5 million – as more of an essential public awareness campaign. Yes, it is hard-hitting, in order to capture attention.

But its real purpose is to show the British people just how many of their democratic rights and powers successive governments have quietly smuggled away to Brussels.

Only once May's election results are in will it be clear whether Mr Sykes' cash and Ukip's tough stance have been effective.

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