The former deputy of UKIP has criticised party leader Nigel Farage’s “unfair” comments on immigration in Peterborough which provoked strong criticism.
David Campbell Bannerman, who was also UKIP’s chairman but is now a Conservative MEP for the East of England, was responding to Mr Farage’s comments on BBC Radio 4 at the end of March where he said children did not play in the streets because of immigration.
Mr Farage named Peterborough as one where place where this was the case.
Mr Campbell Bannerman was campaigning alongside Peterborough’s Conservative parliamentary candidate Stewart Jackson who said UKIP tried to convince him to switch to their party.
This included an invitation to meet Mr Farage at his flat.
Speaking at coffee shop Bewiched, in Bridge Street, on Monday (April 13) Mr Campbell Bannerman said: “I know Nigel well, but his comments were over the top and excessive. They were unfair. There is a problem in the numbers and the pressures in schools, hospitals and roads - that’s what I want to address.
“But you have to be careful not to stir up racial tensions.
“Nigel does not believe in policy. UKIP are just a pressure party.”
Mr Jackson, who is standing to be Peterborough’s MP for a third time, said: “They are a party that depends on consistent publicity and to an extent they have to say something newsworthy to keep things focused on them.
“It was foolish to say but not malicious.
I know Nigel well, but his comments were over the top and excessive. They were unfair.David Campbell Bannerman
“I would like to say to UKIP voters if you want that referendum and to look at the relationship with the EU you vote Conservative.
“People are well versed in what my position is. I gave up my position as a parliamentary aide to a cabinet minister over the issue and people admire that.”
Mr Campbell Bannerman, who had earlier joined Mr Jackson and his campaign team at the Sainsbury’s in Bretton, added: “Stewart is a good man and a hard-working MP. Peterborough would be getting a very decent, hard-working Eurosceptic who puts his country ahead of his political career.”