In a serious of astonishing remarks, Nigel Farage’s top aide Matthew Richardson condemned the NHS as “the biggest waste of money in the UK”
Nigel Farage’s right-hand man has branded the NHS “the biggest waste of money in the UK” and compared the health service to Nazi Germany.
In a series of astonishing remarks, Ukip general secretary Matthew Richardson condemned the NHS and called for it to be privatised.
His comments – made to an American audience and revealed by the Sunday Mirror – will be a huge embarrassment to leader Mr Farage, who is now facing calls to axe his Mr Richardson.
A City barrister hired by Ukip to keep “bad stuff” out of the media, bespectacled Mr Richardson, 34, explosively compared the NHS – cherished by millions as Britain’s greatest post-war achievement – to Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
Speaking at two events for right-wing activists in Washington, he launched a ferocious attack on the service, blaming it for much of the nation’s debts.
He said: “A number I couldn’t possibly imagine when I was younger is now the amount of money that is owed by my country… of course, at the heart of this, the Reichstag bunker of socialism, is the National Health Service.
“And that is why socialised health care is so dangerous – because it is a ratchet. Once it is in place it is very, very hard to get rid of.”
He also launched a vitriolic attack on taxpayer-funded cosmetic surgery.
“I promise I’m not making this up – breast augmentation, hymen repair for those who want to be born-again virgins, is paid for by the National Health Service,” he told his audience of young Americans.
“If you have low self-esteem you get new breasts, but if you are dying of breast cancer you can’t have the treatment you need to stay alive. “
He added: “Socialists think that if somebody wants to reassign their gender the state should pay, they think that’s how the world works. So if you love she-males come to the United Kingdom, if you love freedom – stay here.”
The Reichstag bunker was the air-raid shelter in Berlin which became the infamous heart of the Nazi regime at the end of the World War Two. It was where Hitler married Eva Braun in 1945 before the pair committed suicide.
The emotive comparison will infuriate hardworking doctors and nurses.
One veteran nurse stormed: “We save lives every day. Is this Ukip character seriously comparing us to one of the world’s mass murderers?”
In his speech in 2010 to Young America’s Foundation Conservative Student Conference in Washington, Mr Richardson also said the NHS was the “sacred cow of British politics” – but that he hoped David Cameron would start privatising it.
Referring to Labour, Mr Richardson sneered: “This socialist Government wastes money like you can’t imagine. They have started doing every wasteful scheme under the sun.”
In a second speech in Washington at the Conservative Political Action Conference that same year Mr Richardson repeated his claim that the NHS was a massive drain on resources.
He said to the applause of his audience: “The biggest waste of money of course in the United Kingdom is the NHS.”
His comments will pile the pressure on Ukip about its plans for the health service – despite its claims that it is opposed to privatisation.
The revelation is a gift to Labour ahead of Mr Farage’s planned appearance on tomorrow’s Andrew Marr show on BBC1.
Shadow Minister without Portfolio Jon Trickett called on Mr Farage to sack Mr Richardson, or come clean and admit that Ukip backs an NHS sell-off.
“Either Nigel Farage supports this or Mr Richardson cannot stay in post,” he said. “Nigel Farage cannot simultaneously defend these comments and claim that his party stands for the NHS free at the point of use.
“The man chosen by Nigel Farage to control Ukip’s image has compared the NHS to Hitler’s Nazi bunker.”
He went on: “This is Ukip’s real agenda on the NHS. They claim to defend the service we cherish, but they want to dismantle its foundations.
“UKIP can no longer attempt to fool people. They are a party of Tory people, Tory money and they want to extend the worst Tory policies, which would have horrific effects on working people.”
Mr Richardson sat alongside Nigel Farage at the launch of UKIP’s local election campaign in 2012.
And he was one of only two officials to accompany the party leader to the House of Commons to see Tory turncoat Douglas Carswell introduced as a Ukip MP last October.
Labour faces a battle to stop disenchanted voters switching their support to Ukip, best known for its hardline policies on immigration and Europe.
Labour strategists plan to draw the contrast between Mr Richardson’s remarks on the NHS and their 10-year plan for the health service, to be unveiled on Tuesday.
Labour will also release a video of Mr Richardson’s NHS remarks, as well as launching a website called meetnigelfarage.com which invites voters to read Mr Farage’s words and make their own judgements.
Ironically, Mr Richardson was appointed as UKIP’s ruling general secretary in 2013 to keep bad news about the party buried.
Leaked minutes from the party’s ruling national executive committee reveal: “We need to ensure all of the bad stuff is kept out of the public domain. As party secretary [Mr Richardson] would try to ensure that we keep a tight rein on things.”
His remarks on the NHS are a major embarrassment to Mr Farage, who was himself forced to deny he backed privatising the NHS after remarks he made in 2012 were made public.
Mr Farage was caught on camera telling supporters that the state-funded NHS should move towards an insurance-based system run by private companies like in the US.
Earlier this month Ukip’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall insisted: “It might be better if you brought in a private company who you could hire and fire on results.”
And today the party’s health spokeswoman, MEP Louise Bours, gaffed by admitting: “I have no experience in health whatsoever.”
Tonight a Ukip spokesman said Mr Richardson was “specifically talking about the growth of middle management which had not reflected a growth in health outcomes”.
Responding to calls to sack him, he added: “It’s none of Labour’s business who we employ or don’t employ.”
AT UKIP Llanelli’s November meeting, a Llanelli Star reporter was asked to leave by Chairman Barry Clark.
It had been made clear in advertising for the meeting that members of the public were welcome. A reporter from the Star had been specifically asked to attend by local activists.
Mr Clark had spoken to the Star’s reporter, Steffan Storch, and handed him a copy of the agenda before the start of the meeting. But later, once Steffan took out his notepad, Mr Clark asked if he was a reporter and asked him to leave once he had confirmed that he was.
Today, Mr Clark said: “I asked Steffan to leave because we weren’t allowing journalists, but the public was welcome.”
Answering claims, from within the party, that he had stormed out of the meeting and resigned his position, he said: “I did leave early but I did not resign my position.”
Mr Clark refused to give any comment regarding the content of the meeting, but it is expected that much of the discussion revolved around the selection and rapid de-selection of James Cole as UKIP’s general election candidate for Llanelli.
At a previous meeting of 28 UKIP Llanelli members, the motion to adopt ex-military Swansea businessman Mr Cole as the candidate got 18 votes in favour. Mr Clark, not allowing any non-committee members to verify the count, declared Mr Cole the candidate – despite being one vote short of the two-thirds majority needed.
A complaint from within Llanelli UKIP was taken to the top of the party, with national UKIP chairman Steve Crowther – 3rd in command after leader Nigel Farage and Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall – ruling the vote invalid the following evening.
There was a strong reaction among Twitter users in Llanelli and further afield. Plaid Cymru candidate for Llanelli, Vaughan Williams, said: “Aren’t you a member of the public? Bizarre.”
Later adding: “In all seriousness to Steffan. Journalists ARE members of the public! why ask Steffan to leave?”
@SteffanStorch @LlanelliStar Aren’t you a member of the public? Bizarre.
— Vaughan Williams (@Vaughan_Wms) November 5, 2014
@SteffanStorch @LlanelliStar In all seriousness to Steffan. Journalists ARE members of the public! why ask Steffan to leave?
— Vaughan Williams (@Vaughan_Wms) November 5, 2014
Gareth Thomas of Llanelli asked: “What do they have to hide?”
@SteffanStorch @LlanelliStar what have they to hide???
— Gareth Thomas (@gazzamagic78) November 5, 2014
A spokesman for UKIP at national level said: “The meeting on the 5 November was a Branch Meeting and Branches are well within their rights to decide who is able to attend.”
Here is a rather illuminating quote from UKIP’s Deputy Leader Paul Nuttall MEP Taken from The Scotsman newspaper last week.
Wonder what our Scottish followers make of it ?
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has admitted that his party has a number of idiots in its ranks.
Farage made the admission following yet more revelations about comments made by some of his election candidates, in particular comments made by Stockport candidate Harry Perry who posted extremist views on his Twitter page.
Perry calls for Pakistan to be “nuked”, dubs David Cameron a “gay-loving nutcase”, Muslims “devil’s kids” and homosexuality an “abomination before god”.
Last year Perry also described multiculturalism as ‘evil’ and asked EDL leader Tommy Robinson aka Stephen Lennon if he had a political party he could join.
UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall blamed a national ‘witch hunt’ for seeking out bigots within his party, It is very apparent that there are plenty to be found.
Don’t shoot the messenger Mr Nuttall.
Nigel Farage and hundreds of his UKIP supporters roared with laughter – as a comic cracked a string of offensive jokes about foreigners.
The party’s leader clapped as Paul Eastwood took swipes at Indians, Muslims and Poles at a gala dinner marking the climax of its spring conference.
Referring to the Olympics, he told guests: “Poland did well. They took home bronze, silver, gold, lead, copper – anything they could get their hands on.”
To claps and cheers he went on: “Team Somalia – they did well, didn’t they? They had to apologise. Didn’t realise sailing and shooting were two different events.”
Eastwood then asked: “Any Midlands people here? Wonderful! My favourite accent is a Midlands accent.”
He then attempted an impression of an Asian voice. Eastwood chanted an Islamic call to prayer, mocking it as a “traditional Midlands folk song”.
The scenes were witnessed by Sunday Mirror investigators who joined 200 guests at the £35-a-head black-tie feast. The dinner was a chance for delegates, donors and officials to mingle after the day-long conference in Torquay, Devon.
Earlier our reporters were invited to an exclusive boozy bash on a £1million yacht.
We listened as a UKIP backer claimed Essex was “full of Arabs”.
He complained that people in East London were impossible to understand. Our team was also told UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall “failed to prepare” for his keynote speech – and had to be helped by an “incredibly hungover” young adviser who had been drinking until the early hours.
The conference highlight for many guests was the boozy dinner where Eastwood cracked his offensive jokes.
Despite initially moaning about “bloody political correctness” and claiming: “I’m under strict instructions about what I can and can’t say tonight”, he rattled off a 45-minute routine littered with stereotypes and tasteless gags.
Guests guzzled £39 bottles of Taittinger champagne as the comedian told an old gag about a lazy Slovakian cleaner and a bad-taste joke about a Muslim butcher.
Eastwood told three Asian women at the party, held at the Riviera International Conference Centre in Torquay, that they “looked a little bit lost”.
In farcical scenes his stand-up routine was interrupted when a guest passed out at a table where deputy leader Paul Nuttall was sitting.
Nuttall later told our team the guest was “s***-faced”, adding that the diner had been “drinking since 1pm”.
Other guests had been drinking for more than 12 hours by the time they headed for their hotels early today.
Earlier, rising star Sean Howlett, 21, invited our undercover female reporter to a reception on board an 80ft motor cruiser which was docked at Torquay Marina.
Those on board the “777” boat spent two hours being wined and dined with a sumptuous spread of sushi, prawn sandwiches and Italian cold meats.
Soon empty champagne bottles lined the cabin where self-proclaimed party “fixer” Howlett tucked into a trifle and said of parts of Essex: “I’ve been there twice in my life, twice too many.” He also claimed the county had “a lot of Arabs”.
Removing his glasses he explained there were also “a lot of Afghans”. When it was suggested many were refugees he quipped: “Depends what you mean by a refugee.”
He slated Ilford, a working-class part of East London which UKIP has targeted, claiming residents’ accents made it hard to hold a conversation.
He mocked: “You won’t understand what they’re saying.”
Clutching a glass of chilled white wine, Howlett then explained why Nuttall – seen as his party’s “Northern voice” to highlight its appeal to those outside its traditional South of England territory – wasn’t on the boat.
“As a Liverpudlian working-class man – Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of UKIP and member of the European Parliament for the North West – he was meant to head this,” said keen-to-impress Howlett.
“If the Press photographed him on a yacht with champagne in the background they would say, ‘fake working-class man pretending to stand up for the people’.
“They would’ve destroyed him. So he had to bail out. I told Paul to bail out.”
Glugging chardonnay, financial adviser Howlett boasted to the 777’s captain of his role in the party: “I’m a member and I assist our shadow chancellor Steven Woolfe.
“He’s a very good friend of mine. It’s a massive bonus I work in financial services. I’m a massive asset to him – not to blow my own trumpet!”
He also revealed how he helped the deputy leader pen his conference speech – despite Howlett propping up the hotel bar until the early hours of Friday.
“I was incredibly hungover,” he admitted. The deputy leader, Paul Nuttall – he basically failed to prepare.”
Howlett arrogantly claimed he and his pal, UKIP supporter Dan Jukes, 18, would win Commons seats within a decade. Patting Jukes’ shoulder, Howlett said: “He will be elected to Parliament. In 10 years’ time he will be an MP.”
Howlett said he aimed to run for the North East Hertfordshire seat, crowing: “I’m going to stand for Parliament in 2015 but I won’t win. I’ll come a good second.”
During his alcohol-drenched day and evening he boasted of his role in securing a £500,000 donation to UKIP from a rich finance chief.
Gary Robinson, who stood for Parliament in 2010, told our reporter his home town Wigan was “not nice” but that he lived in a “posh area”.
Ukip’s latest parliamentary hopeful has refused to criticise homophobic comments made by one of the party’s councillors who blamed recent flooding on gay marriage.
John Bickley, who is standing for Ukip in next month’s Wythenshawe and Sale East byelection, said “I am not going to condemn someone for their religious beliefs.”
But he added that the party was right to suspend David Silvester, a councillor in Henley-on-Thames who said gay marriage was a “spiritual disease” that caused the floods over the Christmas and New Year period.
Bickley, launching his campaign in Sale, Greater Manchester, on Thursday, said: “I think it’s absolutely OK for somebody to have a personal view, whether you agree [with it] or not.”
He said Ukip was growing very quickly, and that it was inevitable that there would be a range of views within a larger party membership.
Bickley hopes to overturn Labour’s 7,575 majority on 13 February. The byelection was triggered by the death of MP Paul Goggins this month.
Bickley, a former Labour supporter and son of a “staunch trade unionist” who grew up on the Wythenshawe housing estate, joined Ukip in 2011.
“Labour has let down the working class, and my father, a lifelong supporter [of the Labour party] and trade unionist, would be turning in his grave,” he said on Thursday.
Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of Ukip, said he was confident Bickley would poll strongly, and “change the stereotype that we are a southern party made up of ex-Conservatives”.
Nuttall, who had been mooted as a possible candidate for the seat, said: “I’m making it my life’s mission to prove that Ukip does appeal to voters in the north.”
Bickley, 60, runs his own firm selling a mobile phone app producing personalised greetings cards. But he has also worked for EMI records in sales and marketing and Psygnosis, a video games firm bought by Sony.
He said he decided to enter politics after becoming disgusted with David Cameron for reneging on the Lisbon treaty. “Parliament has outsourced the running of this country to the EU, it needs to take responsibility,” Bickley said. “I love Europe, it’s people and culture, but Labour and the Conservatives have subjugated – by stealth – control of this country to the EU and its quangos.”
In the 2010 general election Ukip came in fifth place, polling 1,405 votes in a constituency that includes the affluent suburb of Sale as well as Wythenshawe, which is among the most deprived areas of Greater Manchester.
In Sale town centre on Thursday Caroline Lewis said she was a recent convert to Ukip, having previously voted Conservative.
“I’m voting for them precisely because of immigration and Europe. Our hospitals are at breaking point, our pensioners are dying from the cold. It’s all wrong,” said the 37-year-old telesales executive.
The other major parties have yet to announce their byelection candidate. On Friday Labour will chose from a shortlist of five: Manchester city councillors Rosa Battle (niece of the former Labour MP John Battle), Catherine Hynes and Suzannah Reeves; Mike Kane, acting chief executive of Movement for Change, a network of community organisers; and Sophie Taylor, a physiotherapist and Trafford councillor.
The party’s grasping MEPs billed taxpayers £370,000 for office costs and got nearly £420,000 subsistence allowances for meals and hotels.
And they boosted UKIP coffers with more than £400,000 donations of their own money ahead of May’s Euro elections.
MEP and deputy party leader Paul Nuttall employed 12 members of staff at public expense. Mr Farage and East Midlands MEP Roger Helmer even put their wives on the Brussels payroll. The UKIP leader’s German wife Kirsten earned up to £30,000 while Sara Helmer pocketed up to £20,000.
A source said: “Farage makes a big thing of pretending UKIP are different from other parties. But this shows they’re even worse.”
Papers seen by the Sunday Mirror show UKIP MEPs claimed an average of £35,635 each in “general expenditure allowances” in 2012.
Officials say the cash should cover “office management costs”.
The allowances came on top of their £79,000 salaries, first class travel expenses and “daily subsistence allowance”.
UKIP MEPs claimed the daily allowance for an average of 86 days each, in accordance with EU rules. Labour MEPs claimed around 128 days each, suggesting they were in Parliament more often.
Mr Nuttall, North West MEP, claimed the daily subsistence allowance just 30 times in 2012 and has donated £12,400 to UKIP since election in 2009, according to the Electoral Commission. His allowances claims last year ran to £40,436. He was among seven MEPs who gave UKIP a total of £425,978 in cash and other benefits after election.
The others are: Derek Clark, East Midlands, £56,822 general and subsistence allowances, £187,000 party donations since 2004; Stuart Agnew, East of England, £78,486 allowances, £31,000 donations since 2009; Mike Nattrass, West Midlands, £59,845 allowances, £96,000 donations since 2004, resigned in September; Godfrey Bloom, Yorkshire and Humber, £46,722 allowances, £72,000 donations since 2004. He quit the UKIP Euro MPs group after saying British aid went to “bongo bongo land”.
MEPs who made no donations but claimed allowances include: Gerard Batten, London, £51,977; John Bufton, Wales, £49,550; William Legge, South West, £53,813 and Roger Helmer, East Midlands, £67,410.
Mr Farage’s allowances of £61,065 only includes subsistence for the last six months. In 2009, he said his MEPs would “provide a quarterly expenses statement”. We found they have not published any for more than a year. Campaign group European Movement UK said: “UKIP’s position is hypocritical.”
UKIP said: “Our MEPs claim allowances like other MEPs. Mr Farage employs his wife because his office is in his home for which he doesn’t charge the taxpayer.”