MEP’s regret on ‘bongo bongo’

Euro MP Godfrey Bloom who has had to apologise for comments about overseas countries.

Euro MP Godfrey Bloom who has had to apologise for comments about overseas countries.

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The UK Independence Party Euro MP who said Britain should not send aid to “bongo bongo land” said he sincerely regrets “any genuine offence which might have been caused”.

Godfrey Bloom was filmed questioning the UK’s overseas aid spending, claiming recipients spend it on luxuries such as Ray-Ban sunglasses and “apartments in Paris”.

In a statement, the Ukip MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, said he regretted any “genuine offence” caused and any embarrassment to his colleagues.

In a statement, Mr Bloom said he never intended to cause any offence and now understood that he must not use the phrase “bongo bongo land” in the future.

He said: “At a public speech in the West Midlands in early July, I used a term which I subsequently gather under certain circumstances could be interpreted as pejorative to individuals and possibly cause offence.

“Although quite clearly no such personal usage was intended, I understand from Ukip party chairman Steve Crowther and leader Nigel Farage that I must not use the terminology in the future, nor will I and sincerely regret any genuine offence which might have been caused or embarrassment.

“My aim, successful as it appears, was to demonstrate the immorality of sending £1bn per month abroad when we are desperately short of money here. Ring-fenced overseas aid at nearly 70 per cent of estimated GDP growth next year, some to buy arms – Mirage fighters in Argentina is just one example.

“My constituents come first and always will, they put me here to speak for them.”

Earlier, Mr Bloom told Sky News he did not believe the phrase “bongo bongo land” was racist, suggesting it only offended those in the “Westminster bubble” and that his constituents in Yorkshire did not take offence.

Mr Bloom’s reference to “bongo bongo land” was revealed in a video of a July speech in Wordsley, near Stourbridge.

Laura Pidcock, of Show Racism The Red Card, said: “These crude stereotypes that see Britain as a civilised place and overseas as tribal” are “incredibly damaging”.

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