Nigel Farage: 'Don't call Ukip a racist party'

Nigel Farage addressing tonight's public meeting in London. Photo: ITN

Nigel Farage has hit back at any suggestion that Ukip are racist, declaring "we are not a racist party".

Addressing a public meeting showcasing the party's black and ethnic minority candidates for the upcoming local and European elections, Mr Farage said:

"I don't care what you call us but from this moment on, please, do not ever call us a racist party. We are not a racist party."

Mr Farage compared the meeting to the moment that Tony Blair scrapped Labour's Clause IV, the commitment to nationalising major industries.

Pastor Annette Reid, who is running to be a councillor in south London, told the crowd: "I am black, I am Jamaican and I am proud to be part of the UK Independence Party."

She was joined on stage by former boxer Winston McKenzie, who gave an impassioned speech about the need to tackle knife and gun crime.

The meeting, which was open to members of the public as well as Ukip members, was interrupted on several occasions by protesters, who ended up being dragged out of the hall by security staff.

The party's economic spokesman, Steven Woolfe, hit out at one heckler for what he called "childish and immature" behaviour.