Yorkshire MEP backs down after criticism of “bongo bongo land” comments

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A Euro MP representing Bridlington and Yorkshire has backed down after being criticised for comments he made about foreign aid.

Godfrey Bloom, Ukip MEP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, was recorded questioning the UK’s overseas aid payments, claiming the recipients - from a fictional “bongo bongo land” - spend the money on luxuries.

He told a meeting of supporters in the Midlands those who received aid spent the money on “Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris and all the rest of it”.

Now, after increasing criticism, he has released this statement: “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 to my colleagues.

“My aim, successful as it appears, was to demonstrate the immorality of sending £1 billion per month abroad when we are desperately short of money here. Ring fenced overseas aid at nearly 70% 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.”