UKIP county councillor Trevor Shonk has defended himself against accusations of racism after an interview broadcast on BBC Radio 4.
The Ramsgate councillor, who also sits on the town authority, gave a one-hour interview to the World At One programme aired during the Christmas break.
Cllr Shonk hit national headlines after telling the programme that Labour and Conservative governments have allowed into the country an influx of immigrants which has made people in the UK racist.
He added: “It hasn’t been staggered, it’s just overload. We haven’t got the care homes, we haven’t got the houses for our own.”
Kent county councillor Trevor Shonk blames Labour and Tories for allowing in more immigrants than country can cope with
The Ukip leadership has moved to distance the party from remarks by one of its councillors claiming an “overload” of immigrants had turned Britain into a racist country.
Trevor Shonk, who represents Ukip on Kent county council and Ramsgate town council, blamed Labour and the Conservatives for allowing in more immigrants than the country could cope with.
“The two main parties that have been running this country have made the country racist because of the influx that we have had,” he told BBC Radio 4’s The World at One.
“When I’ve done leaflets every shopkeeper, whether they are Asian or English-born, they’re concerned about the influx.
“It hasn’t been staggered; it’s just overload. We haven’t got the care homes, we haven’t got the houses for our own.”
However, the Ukip deputy chairman, Suzanne Evans, rejected the suggestion that Britain was racist and said that Shonk “didn’t express it as well as he could”.
“I think Britain is actually a very accommodating country and I don’t think by any stretch of the imagination can be termed racist,” she told The World at One.
“I know what councillor Shonk meant. Perhaps he didn’t express it as well as he could. There has of course been a massive increase in immigration, which people find incredibly difficult to deal with.”
The latest comments come after Ukip parliamentary candidate Kerry Smith was forced to stand down over racist and homophobic comments he made.
Meanwhile, another Ukip councillor in Kent, Martyn Heale, was reported to have spoken of his regret at having been a member of the far right National Front in the 1970s.
Heale, who was a Conservative activist for 20 years before joining Ukip a decade ago, would not be interviewed for broadcast, but told the BBC that it was really depressing to be reminded of his past.
“I obviously regret what I did,” he told the BBC.
Evans complained that media reporting of Ukip was unfair, pointing out that Labour had councillors who had previously been in the National Front or the BNP while crimes involving councillors from other parties often went unreported in the national media.
“The media reporting of Ukip is not fair,” she said. “I think the establishment is very upset with Ukip and the fact that it is shaking the cosy status quo, the stitch-up the three old parties have had between them.
“Ukip is standing up for things that good, honest, decent people care about.”
Despite UKIP’s best attempts to dampen the fire that began following Janice Atkinson’s controversial comments that referred to a Thai UKIP member as a “Ting Tong” it appears that the controversy is far from disappearing.
Atkinson’s comments were recorded by the BBC. In the footage the MEP can be heard talking about a married couple who she had met earlier in the day saying: “…so that was good. We’ve got Fa who’s, I dunno, she’s a ting tong from somewhere.”
She attempted to claim that the comments were naive rather than malicious and said she was “incredibly sorry” for offending the couple.
She said: “I deeply regret the words I used and am incredibly sorry. It was poor judgment and naivety on my part rather than words spoken with any malice.”
UKIP claimed that Atkinson had offered the couple, Mr & Mrs Munday from Ramsgate a full apology, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage also making a hastily arranged personal visit to the Munday’s.
However, it has become clear that the Ramsgate couple are still far from impressed with the behaviour of Janice Atkinson.
On a posting made on social media, Vincent Munday wrote:
“Let’s put a few myths to bed once and for all.
My wife and I did not go to the BBC, it was rather a case of us being tricked into listening to the video whilst on camera, hence the shock on our faces when we hear Janice Atkinson referring to my wife as a ting tong from somewhere.
I would like to say however that we are glad that we were told what she had said and I thank Elle from the BBC for playing it to us.
In my opinion, rather than naively saying what she said, Ms Atkinson used the term referring to the little Britain character, her subsequent “apology” means nothing, she said what she meant and meant what she said.
I can categorically state that my wife was never up for sale and that she was not a “Thai bride”. Ms Atkinson did phone me the next day, anyone with half an ounce of decency would have done their utmost to say sorry but as opposed to doing this her arrogance prevailed, she spent most of the time pointing what damage my wife and I would do to the party and Nigel, she didn’t seem to realise that it was her comments that were doing that.
The rest of the time was spent trying to point out what a lovely person she was because she had tried to help her husbands best friends wife, who also happens to be a Thai national, stay in the country.
Her written apology which was obviously written by a press team meant nothing, her silence since the incident has been deafening, she has done nothing to put the matter to bed. Yes Nigel has come to my house and apologised, whilst this is a lovely gesture, he did nothing wrong and the apology was unwarranted.
I would like to say at this point that my wife and I bear him and the party no malice whatsoever. The story has since been on Thai tv, this has hurt my wife badly and she has been very upset by this, it’s hard for us to understand this, Thai culture is quite complicated but she has shed a few tears which upsets me too.
Once again, in my opinion, Janice Atkinson has shown her true colours, I think she has her own interests at heart, she is an arrogant racist who has been caught out and I firmly believe deserves to be ejected from the party because it’s very unlikely her arrogance would allow her to leave of her own volition.
Anyone who knows my wife will know what a sweet and lovely person she is and that she certainly didn’t deserve Ms Atkinson’s horrible comment.”
Hope not Hate
A Ukip MEP has apologised “profusely” after calling a Thai constituent, and member of the party, a “ting tong”.
Janice Atkinson, who represents the south east, was recorded making the comments after meeting Fa Munday, a mobile food seller in Ramsgate, Kent.
She said: “..so that was good. We’ve got Fa who’s, I dunno, she’s a ting tong from somewhere.”
Mrs Munday and her husband Vincent, both loyal Ukip supporters, handed back their membership of the party claiming they felt “betrayed”.
The caterer, 35, who has lived in England since she got married eight years ago, said: “I can’t understand why she said that.
“It left me feeling hurt and disgusted. Nobody has ever spoken to me in that way.”
Senior party member Ms Atkinson’s comments were captured by the BBC team while she spoke to local people and Ukip members in Ramsgate.
She insisted the comments were naive rather than malicious and said she was “incredibly sorry” for offending the couple.
She said: “I deeply regret the words I used and am incredibly sorry. It was poor judgment and naivety on my part rather than words spoken with any malice. I am devastated that I have caused hurt and apologise profusely to both Mr and Mrs Munday.”
A Ukip spokesman said: “Janice has apologised for the words she used. Ukip in no way condones the use of language that may reflect prejudice or cause offence and we sincerely hope this matter can be resolved privately.”
Mr Munday, 54, who had previously campaigned for UKIP, vowed never to support the party again.
He said: “We both feel betrayed, and it’s absolutely outrageous what she said.
“Come rain or shine, I was out there leafleting for UKIP, and we get rewarded with this racist bigotry.”
“When we heard the comments, we were absolutely shell-shocked. Nobody should speak like that, not at all.”
Vincent and his wife had been members of the party for four years.
He added: “I firmly believe that Nigel Farage doesn’t have a racist bone in his body, but Janice Atkinson quite evidently does.
A local radio presenter from Ramsgate has resigned as a member of Ukip after the party plastered its Facebook page with an announcement that he had joined.
Peter Willson, from Academy FM, said he had been “stitched up” and at first denied ever being a member of the party.
He later admitted he had signed up but had then “retracted” his membership.
The father of three, who has been at the Marlowe Academy based radio station since 2009, said the party had not asked his permission to announce his membership and he was upset by the move.
But Ukip party member Martyn Heale said: “Peter Willson joined Ukip on April 24, I went to his house and signed him up. He resigned today.”