6:27pm Wednesday 7th August 2013
UNDER fire UKIP politician Godfrey Bloom now says he "sincerely regrets" any offence that may have been taken over the controversial ‘bongo bongo land’ comments that he made at a Black Country meeting.
The MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire MEP sparked a media frenzy and accusations of racism after he told supporters at a packed meeting at The Kingfisher in Wall Heath that UK aid to foreign countries was being spent on sunglasses, Ferraris and fighter planes in Pakistan.
Earlier he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “If I’ve offended anybody in Bongo Bongo Land I shall write to the ambassador at the court of St James and apologise to him personally.”
But he has since released a statement, saying: “I understand from UKIP Party Chairman Steve Crowther and leader Nigel Farage that I must not use the terminology in the future, nor will I and sincerely regret any genuine offence which might have been caused or embarrassment to my colleagues.
“My aim, successful as it appears, was to demonstrate the immorality of sending £1 billion per month abroad when we are desperately short of money here.”
The remarks, which were filmed and posted to YouTube, were made at a public meeting organised by the Dudley and Halesowen branch of UKIP.
Footage shows Mr Bloom saying: "How we can possibly be giving a billion pounds a month when we’re in this sort of debt to bongo bongo land is completely beyond me.
"To buy Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris and all the rest of it that goes with most of the foreign aid.
“F18s for Pakistan. We need a new squadron of F18s. Who's got the squadrons? Pakistan, where we send the money."
Stourbridge UKIP members, however, were “most impressed” by Mr Bloom’s speech.
Chairman Major Robins said: “I can’t see why anyone would take offence. It’s totally ridiculous that our country is one of the biggest contributors of foreign aid.”
While Stourbridge UKIP campaigner Glen Wilson said the incident had “been blown out of all proportion”.
Bill Etheridge, chairman of UKIP Dudley and Halesowen branch which organised the talk, described Mr Bloom as a “flamboyant character” and said: “It’s a shame he did use that phrase, it’s not one I would have used myself, but the point he was trying to put across was a very serious one.”
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