Nigel Farage last night answered audience questions on immigration, the NHS, defence and foreign aid during the BBC’s Question Time series of programmes with each of the party leaders.
The audience, made up of 25% UKIP supports, with the rest Labour, Conservative and other opposition parties, began by asking Nigel whether an exit from Europe would damage the economy.
The UKIP leader responded by saying that it would not be an exit from Europe, claiming he believes that when Europe is not fighting each other it represents a culturally diverse part of the world.
He continued to talk about the EU, claiming that it is bad not just for Britain but for the rest of Europe too, and that a “trade friendship” would be preferable. “The EU has overshadowed Europe,” he said. He argued that Britain should not be worried about leaving the EU as European countries depend on the UK for importing goods, not for just Britain’s exports.
He claimed that almost 60 countries trade with Europe without being in the EU, and are not affected by tariff barriers.
Following Europe, Farage was questioned about the prospect of HSBC leaving the UK. Farage believes this is due to a transfer in power to the EU with a ‘banking regime’ which makes doing business in London too expensive.
He was later asked about whether a referendum would make UKIP redundant. Farage highlighted the result of the Scottish independence vote, claiming it has only made the SNP stronger. He believes two thirds want free trade but not a “political union”.
On the topic of immigration Farage says he likes immigration but wants it to be controlled. The topic turned to whether immigrants are a strain on the NHS. He claimed that health tourism is a problem which needed to be fixed.
Farage said: “All ethnic groups in Britain think that immigration is running too high.” He followed by saying that wages have also been driven down.
The audience questions finally moved onto the NHS. Farage said: “We should celebrate the fact we are living longer.” However he said the reason that there are more demands on the NHS is because there are too many people using the service. He claimed there are two ways that it can be fixed, by either introducing a national health card or by ensuring that anyone who travels to Britain has health insurance.