Documents unearthed by The Telegraph show that Mr Farage asked Mr Powell for his support to win a by-election in 1994 and Ukip officials made repeated attempts to enlist his support
Nigel Farage has never hidden his admiration for Enoch Powell, the Conservative politician whose 1968 Rivers of Blood speech overshadowed race relations in Britain for decades.
Powell used a speech in Birmingham to rail against the social consequences of immigration from the Commonwealth and new race relations laws. He warned: “As I look ahead, I am filled with foreboding; like the Roman, I seem to see the River Tiber foaming with much blood.” Powell lost his job as the shadow defence secretary and became a political pariah. But polls at the time found that his speech was credited by some for returning the Tories to power in the 1970 general election. He quit the Tories in 1974 and served as an Ulster Unionist MP for South Down until he left Parliament in 1987, turning down a life peerage.
Few politicians had dared to praise him in public until 2008, when Mr Farage, who at the time had been leader of UK Independence Party for two years, named him as his political hero, saying: “While his language may seem out of date now, the principles remain good and true.”
Mr Farage added: “I would never say that Powell was racist in any way at all. Had we listened to him, we would have much better race relations now than we have got.” Then, in January this year, Mr Farage was read parts of the “Rivers of Blood” speech on Sky News’s Murnaghan programme and said he agreed with the “basic principle” of Mr Powell’s words.
Mr Farage has only ever admitted to two meetings with Powell, who died in 1998. In his autobiography, Fighting Bull, Mr Farage described how on meeting Powell as a teenager at Dulwich College, the MP “dazzled me for once into an awestruck silence”.
On the second occasion, in May 1993, Mr Farage drove Powell to a Ukip rally, where he was due to speak, on the eve of the Newbury by-election, where the party’s founder, Alan Sked, was standing as a candidate.
Mr Farage described how a group of communists outside Newbury Racecourse hit his Mercedes with “a large wooden stave”, but Powell was “totally unmoved”. He wrote: “That meeting, with a man who had achieved so much and sacrificed so much for his principles, awoke all sorts of aspirations in me which I had not even acknowledged before. It inspired me. Public service was not just about kowtowing to a party line.”
Documents unearthed by The Daily Telegraph in an archive at Cambridge University show that Mr Farage wrote to Powell asking for his support in a by-election in 1994. They also show that Mr Farage’s initial contact was followed up by repeated attempts by party officials and candidates to enlist the support of Mr Powell, including two invitations to stand as a candidate for Ukip in two national elections.
In his letter, sent on March 23, 1994 from Mr Farage’s home in Kent, the 29-year-old asked Powell to support his candidature. Mr Farage wrote: “I have everything in place to fight a good, aggressive campaign but a voice from you could transform things and put the issue to the forefront. Please give us the help you can. As your performance at Newbury showed the electorate are beginning to wake from that long sleep. Come and give them another jog.”
Turning to specifics, Mr Farage wrote: “I will hold search public meetings during the campaign and I would like you to come and speak at the Town Hall in Eastleigh at some point during the week preceding Polling Day. If you agree to this I will, of course, organise transport, dinner and whatever you need. I might take a break from the driving this time!
“Our members in Hampshire are very keen and active, a speech from you would be an inspiration to the campaign. Recent conversations with the Political journalists leave me with the thought that the time has never been better.”
Mr Farage referred in the letter to a previously undisclosed meeting with Powell in Bow, east London, which he said was “very enjoyable”.
He wrote: “As I said to you at the meeting at Bow, the manifesto for the European elections states clearly that if elected U.K.I.P candidates will not take their seats. I know that you approve of this policy, as did the vast majority of the people who attended that meeting. The major policy stance at Eastleigh will be to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act and to replace it with a genuine free trade agreement. Sovereignty is a very live issue at the moment, so the timing of the Poll will help our cause.”
Powell replied to Mr Farage five days later on March 28, saying: “I have given very serious consideration to the request in your letter of 23rd March but have concluded that I do not feel I can contribute further to the campaign by speaking on your behalf at the by-election. Recent developments seem to show that opinion in the United Kingdom is consolidating against membership of the European Union.”
According to the archive, this was the last communication between Mr Farage and Powell. However, other Ukip members, including Mr Sked, continued to lobby Powell for his support.
Three weeks later, on April 18, 1994, Mr Sked, who was the party’s leader, asked Powell to stand as Ukip’s candidate for Central London in the 1995 European Parliament elections. In a handwritten note on Ukip-headed notepaper, Mr Sked wrote: “A large number of people, many of them known to you, have suggested to me that I invite you to be our candidate for Central London in the Euro-Elections. As you know, we don’t intend to take up seats or salaries. We fight our course in the UK alone.
“All you would have to do would be to allow your name to be used, design your own election address and make as many statements as you saw fit. There need be no meetings or actual campaigning. What do you think?”
Powell replied three days later, on April 21: “I am in fact not intending to contest a parliamentary seat, having effectively retired since my defeat at the General Election of 1987.”
Over the following four years, apparently at the suggestion of Mr Sked, a succession of Ukip candidates wrote to Powell asking for endorsement. Powell agreed to help three of them.
On Nov 24, 1994, Malcolm Floyd, Ukip’s candidate in the Dudley West by-election of the following month, asked Powell “whether you might be kind enough to support me in my fight for British independence and the maintenance of the Union, both of which objectives are key points in our party manifesto”. Powell agreed, and sent back an open letter addressed to the people of Dudley the following day which Mr Floyd was “welcome to use in any way you think fit”. It said: “I hope the electors of Dudley West realise how privileged they are to able to ‘speak for Britain’ before the rest of the country: they can help to turn out a government which persists in Europe in stripping this country of its right to make its own laws and policies and to levy its own taxes. You will do this most effectively if you support Mr Floyd.”
Four months later, on March 30, 1995, Vivian Linacre, Ukip’s candidate in the following May’s Perth and Kinross by-election, asked Powell to endorse his candidature, saying that his “personal support would be invaluable” in a by-election that is “bound to attract national interest”. Powell replied: “I am glad to know that the electors of Perth and Kinross are being given the opportunity to express themselves against membership of the European Union, which is tantamount to the renunciation of self-government by the United Kingdom, let alone Scotland.”
On Nov 19, 1996, DJ Richards, a Ukip member from Surrey, wrote to Powell asking him to be the party’s candidate for South West Surrey at the 1997 General Election against Virginia Bottomley, the Tory Cabinet minister, saying: “We have concluded that to counter the appeal of Mrs Bottomley we should field a candidate of ‘high profile’ status. The approach to you is made with this in mind.”
Powell thanked Mr Richards for his letter, but said: “As one who is now retired from Parliament, I am not proposing to take an active part as a candidate in the forthcoming General Election.”
Then, six months later on April 16, 1997, John Baker, Ukip’s candidate in Folkestone and Hythe, asked Powell to support him against the Conservative home secretary, Michael Howard, now Lord Howard of Lympne.
Powell thanked him for his letter, adding: “I think that the UKIP will provide some of those who are opposed to British membership of the European Union with an opportunity for recording their opposition at the election.”
This letter was the final Ukip communication received by Powell. He died the following year, the same year that Mr Farage became Ukip’s chairman.
A UKIP candidate is today being investigated by party chiefs over a string of comments left on Facebook.
Liz Mahon, who is standing for the party in Garrison ward, Preston Council, made posts hailing Enoch Powell, criticising Nigel Farage for paying tribute to Nelson Mandela and calling halal food ‘sick evil satanic’.
The politician made a number of her posts on the Facebook pages of the far-right English Defence League and Britain First parties.
Today a spokesman for UKIP said the posts were “being investigated as a matter of urgency”.
The spokesman added: “Such posts are not acceptable and are not the views of UKIP at all.”
The Evening Post visited Ms Mahon at her home in Forest Way, Fulwood, yesterday. She said the posts were made “ages ago” and declined to comment further. The posts were made on her own Facebook page and other pages including the EDL and Britain First party between August 2013 and February this year.
Ms Mahon is standing in today’s elections for Garrison ward, which is a vacant seat after Coun Jennifer Greenalgh stood down.
Last night Ms Mahon’s page had been changed from public to private and some of the posts were removed.
Liberal Democrat candidate Julie Voges, who is also standing in the same ward, said the posts were “disgraceful”.
She added: “It’s absolutely appalling, it’s quite shocking I feel.
“We are living in a multicultural society. The England she wants to live in doesn’t exist any more. We are all human beings, we are all inhabitants on planet earth.”
Charlotte Leach the Conservative Party candidate for the ward said she couldn’t comment on something she hadn’t seen.
Labour Candidate Steve Ratcliffe could not be reached at the time of going to press.
Green party candidate Bill Houghton couldn’t be reached for comment yesterday.
In February, Ms Mahon shared a message from the far-right Britain First party claiming Enoch Powell was “absolutely” right.
In December she posted on Nigel Farage’s page criticising him for his tribute to Nelson Mandela after the ex-South African president’s death.
She posted: “Bad comment Mr Farage, so very disappointed, you portray Mandela as a good person, when he certainly was nothing of the sort.
“Do you see Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams as a good men, cos if you do, you clearly have shown your true colours on here today – my vote hangs in the balance now. I want you to answer the question.”
And in August last year she commented on a post by the English Defence League Sikh Division page which was headed ‘Barbaric Halal slaughtering of animals.’
She posted: “Sick evil satanic, why is England allowing this evil animal cruelty to happen.
“DEFRA petition is not enough, we need a petition to have this stopped…this is England and they should be arrested for animal cruelty.”
A star of Ukip’s latest political broadcast has been suspended from the party after claiming Ed Miliband is “not British”.
In a major embarrassment to Nigel Farage, Andre Lampitt, a Zimbabwean decorator and kitchen fitter who appeared in the party’s television broadcast, posted a string of “repellent” messages online.
Africans should “kill themselves off”, Islam is “evil” and Nigerians are “bad people”, Mr Lampitt claimed.
Mr Lampitt, who describes himself as “Born British in Rhodesia” and speaks with a Zimbabwean accent, was filmed on a building site wearing a hard hat in Tuesday’s television broadcast.
He warned EU migrants are undercutting natives’ wages, saying: “Since the lads from Eastern Europe are prepared to work for a lot less than anybody else, I’ve found it a real struggle.” He was wearing the shirt of his company, Kamina Kawena Services.
Messages on his Twitter account described the Prophet Mohammed as a “pedo” and say Islam is “an evil organisation respecting a prophet who was a pedo [sic].”
He said Ed Miliband, the son of a Jewish refugee, is “Polish and not British”.
One message read: “Miliband is not a real Brit. I hope he never gets to be PM! He was only born here.” He added: “I believe in being British. It is earned through generations of existence not through birth.”
Another message read: “I was born and grew up in Africa. Please leave Africa for the Africans. Let them kill themselves off.”
Another said: “Most Nigerians are generally bad people.” Another message said: “Enoch Powell was right!”
A Ukip spokesman said: “We are deeply shocked that Mr Lampitt has expressed such repellent views. His membership of the party has been suspended immediately pending a full disciplinary process.”
Mr Lampitt did not respond to approaches for comment, but his Twitter account has been deleted.
The outbursts by a prominent new face of Ukip will be highly embarrassing to Mr Farage, who has repeatedly insisted his party has no place for racists.
He has sought to strike a balance between preserving free speech with his party while presenting an electable face to the public.
He was humiliated after Godfrey Bloom, one of his closest allies, made a series of outbursts describing foreign countries as “Bongo Bongo Land” and women as “sluts”.
In response Mr Farage promised to weed out “Walter Mittys” from the party’s candidates to ensure only “reliable, steady, solid people” could run for election.
UK Independence Party chief Nigel Farage borrowed a slogan from the BNP as he launched a bid to top European election polls.
The party claimed that they were “reclaiming” the “Love Britain” message which was prominently displayed at their spring conference in Torquay today.
UKIP leader Mr Farage said: “To hell with the BNP… it’s our slogan now.”
But he went on to claim migrants had made Britain unrecognisable to many families in his conference address.
Mr Farage later complained about having to share a train carriage with people who were not speaking English.
He also said he would “do a deal with the devil” for an EU referendum and dismissed the row over a councillor who claimed gay marriage caused the flooding crisis.
And one activist demanded to know how anyone could be Muslim and English in a fringe meeting as the party displayed their true colours.
With David Cameron’s pledge to cut immigration in tatters Mr Farage is seeking to exploit people’s fears to make history and see UKIP become the biggest party in Brussels at the May elections.
He claimed families are paying an financial price for the “irresponsible” failure to curb numbers in his conference speech.
And the UKIP leader demanded: “What about the social price of this?
“The fact that in scores of our cities and market towns, this country in a short space of time has frankly become unrecognisable.
“Whether it is the impact on local schools and hospitals, whether it is the fact in many parts of England you don’t hear English spoken any more.
“This is not the kind of community we want to leave to our children and grandchildren.”
That echoes Enoch Powell’s infamous 1968 claim that large scale immigration could change homes and neighbourhoods “beyond recognition”.
Mr Farage later said he felt “awkward” on a recent train journey in central London when he heard only foreign languages spoken by his fellow passengers.
Speaking in a questions and answers session , he said: “I got the train the other night, it was rush hour, from Charing Cross, it was the stopper going out.
“We stopped at London Bridge, New Cross, Hither Green.
“It wasn’t until after we got past Grove Park that I could actually hear English being audibly spoken in the carriage.
“Does that make me feel slightly awkward? Yes.
“I wonder what’s really going on. And I’m sure that’s a view that will be reflected by three quarters of the population, perhaps even more.
“That does not mean one is anti immigration, we’re not anti immigration, we want immigration, but we do absolutely believe we should be able to judge it both on quantity and quality.”
Mr Farage lasy night boycotted Newsnight and failed to show for an interview.
Farage said he had dropped out because, ‘Instead of asking about the elections or policy they focused on admin’.
However, other tweets suggested he had a clash with reporter Zoe Conway before the interview aired.
Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, provoked anger after expressing agreement with the “basic principle” of some of the sentiments in Enoch Powell’s notorious “rivers of blood” speech.
Without being told who had delivered the comments, Mr Farage was read a section in which Powell claimed indigenous Britons risked becoming “strangers in their own country” with “neighbourhoods changed beyond recognition”.
Mr Farage responded: “In a lot of England, that’s true”.
He refused to back down when he was told the remarks were made in Powell’s 1968 speech.
“What he was warning about is that if you have a large influx of people into an area that changes an area beyond recognition, there is tension. That basic principle is right,” the Ukip leader told Sky News.
He dismissed the suggestion that Powell had “seen it coming”, but he added that migration was on a “completely different scale” today than when the speech was delivered nearly 50 years ago.
“When immigration was being discussed in the ‘60s and ‘70s and ‘80s, we were talking about an annual net inflow to the country of between 30 and 50,000 people.
“What we have had in the last 13 years is net 4m extra migrants who have come to Britain so we are dealing with something now on a scale that hitherto we couldn’t even have conceived,” he said.
The speech, in which Powell professed to “see the River Tiber flowing with much blood” because of the extent of non-white immigration, led to his sacking from the Tory front bench.
It has haunted the politics of race ever since and only last month Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, evoked its memory to accuse his Conservative Coalition partners of “panic” over Romanian and Bulgarian migration.
Mr Farage has previously described Powell as his political hero because of his commitment to rolling back the influence of the state. He said in 2008: “I would never say that Powell was racist in any way at all. Had we listened to him, we would have much better race relations now than we have got.”
Sunder Katwala, the director of the British Future think tank, said: “If Ukip wants be mainstream and not consigned to the margins, it has to get away from the politics of ‘Enoch was right’. It needs to get into the debate of how a diverse society deals with immigration and integration.”
In his interview, Mr Farage accused David Cameron of not doing enough to curb immigration and suggested only people earning wages on a par with the average national income should be allowed into Britain.
He said: “We should be selective. The single most important criteria should be that we want people coming to this country who have got a skill to bring, who economically are going to earn more than £27,500.”
Despite last year predicting a “Romanian crime wave”, the Ukip leader denied trying to scapegoat Romanians and Bulgarians following the lifting last week of all controls on their right to work in Britain.
“We are scapegoating almost the entire political class in Westminster, who have allowed open borders since 2004,” Mr Farage said.
“We should transform the labour market in this country. The problem we’ve got is, we have got a massive oversupply of unskilled labour.”
Mr Cameron said he wanted to prevent migrants living in this country from claiming child benefit for youngsters they had left behind.
“I don’t think that is right and that is something I want to change. It’s a situation that I inherited. I think you can change it,” he said.
The Prime Minister also signalled that tougher migration rules would be a key Conservative objective in future attempts to renegotiate Britain’s relationship with the European Union.