Ukip candidate Mark Reckless has sparked controversy after suggesting EU migrants who have been in the UK for a number of years could still be forced to return to their native country.
In a hustings event organised by ITV News Meridian, the candidate for Rochester and Strood argued that workers such as ‘Polish plumbers’ who had been in the country for a long time, owned a house and had children in school, should only be given a work permit for a “fixed period”.
In response to a question about such working migrants, Mr Reckless - the Tory MP whose defection to Ukip sparked the by-election - said:
His comments were met with laughter and jeers from the audience, and angered Labour candidate Naushabah Khan, who interrupted him to ask:
His proposed points system, he said, would treat EU migrants in the same way as migrants from Africa, India, and the Caribbean, rather than favouring people from any particular origin.
The hustings event was held at the University of Kent in Medway, and gave residents a chance to ask any last-minute questions of the candidates ahead of polling day tomorrow.
Ukip have since reportedly moved to distance themselves from the remarks, with a spokesman telling The Guardian Mr Reckless had "misunderstood" the premise of the question.