Nigel Farage says “build lots of smaller mosques” during visit to Dudley

Ukip leader Nigel Farage leaves Himley Hall, near Dudley in the West Midlands (Photo: Birmingham Mail)

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he would prefer lots of “small mosques” to a giant “Super Mosque” during a General Election campaign visit to Dudley.

The issue of plans for the Super Mosque has more than any other seen Labour in Dudley hemorrhage support to UKIP to the extent that the seat is now under serious threat.

Mr Farage was commenting as he toured the Black Country target seat, meeting activists and speaking to an open public meeting at the Copthorne Hotel in Brierly Hill.

He insisted that UKIP’s opposition to the planned mosque is not based on religion or racism saying that “People need a religious place of worship, the only question is whether that scale is the right one.

“You shouldn’t ban people from following their religion. Whether the super mosque is the right way to do that is a separate question.

“I personally don’t think its a great idea, I’d personally like to see more smaller and proportionate mosques.”

He said that he has no figures on the Muslim membership of UKIP, because the party is ‘cautious’ about grouping its members in that way – but added it would welcome any new members.

Mr Farage also said it was ‘fair enough’ that Tory candidate Afzal Amin was forced to resign after plotting a fake demonstration over the so-called mega-mosque with the English Defence League – which he could then claim the credit for cancelling. “He was trying to stir up something dangerous for personal advantage,” he said.

And he defended his controversial comments on health tourism. During last week’s televised leaders debate he said that immigrants are coming into Britain simply to get expensive life-saving treatment on the NHS – saying his view is in step with the public.

He said that in a recent poll 50 per cent of people said migrants living here already should not get free treatment.

“And I was talking about people who jet in as genuine health tourists. If you asked that question you’d get 75 per cent in favour.”

He warned that as well as HIV, people coming for treatment of cancer and TB were also placing a strain on the NHS.

But asked what he said to the Prime Minister David Cameron at the debate Mr Farage said he complimented him on his appearance. “Any man that can reverse the greying process I’m very very jealous of. It’s a wonderful thing.”

Labour has previously described the campaign against the Dudley Super Mosque as scaremongering.

Mr Farage also stated UKIP’s backing for removing tolls from the M6 Toll motorway – something Birmingham Mail readers have called for the recent My Manifesto survey.

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