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Tuesday 30 September 2014

Embarrassment for UkiP as 'face of party is Irishman and EU immigrant'

Matthew Holehouse

Published 25/04/2014 | 14:38

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UKIP leader Nigel Farage faces embarrassment over his plans to radically curb migration from Europe after it emerged one of the actors in a Ukip billboard is an Irishman who moved to the UK.

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The destitute builder in the party’s latest advert is believed by party officials to be a Dubliner named Dave O’Rourke, a Ukip spokesman confirmed.

Mr O’Rourke is seen sitting on a pavement with a beggar’s cup. The text carries the caption: “EU policy at work. British workers are hit hard by unlimited cheap labour”.

The poster was launched by Mr Farage in Sheffield earlier this week, where he said he would like to see immigration cut to 30-50,000 people a year. Britain will no longer be subject to European “open-door” immigration but instead install a restrict work permit scheme, he said.

Mr O’Rourke is from Dublin and has lived in the UK for ten years, according to an online profile. He describes himself as “hard working”.

However, under Ukip proposals he would not be able to move to Britain unless he should show he was "highly skilled".

Many British-born actors struggle to find well-paid work due to high levels of competition within the industry.

It is the second time this week Ukip have faced questions over whether they practice what they preach in calling for an immigration policy that would see far fewer foreigners working in Britain.

Immigration is “good for big business and rich people” because it creates plentiful cheap labour, at the expense of the native working class, Mr Farage claims.

On Tuesday Mr Farage defended his decision to employ his wife, Kirsten, as his £25,000 a year secretary

 through European Parliament expenses.

She is German, but Mr Farage denied she was “taking” a British worker’s job, saying he knows of no Briton who could work the late hours that she does.

That claim was undermined after a job advertisement, posted as a stunt by a recruitment firm, for the role of his PA attracted hundreds of applications from UK nationals within hours.

Mr Farage added: "That is a very different situation to the mass of hundreds of thousands of people coming in and flooding the lower ends of the labour market."

Patrick O’Flynn, Ukip’s director of communications, said any criticism of the poster was “Tory party humbug”.

“The vast majority of people used in political poster campaigns are actors. It is totally standard practice. It is nonsense for the Conservative Party to try and depict this as anything out of the ordinary,” he said.

That position, however, appears to contradict comments by Nigel Farage after it emerged another person featured in a Ukip poster was a party employee.

Lizzy Vaid appears in the party’s manifesto as a voter from Devon, but she is in fact Ukip's events manager and an assistant to Mr Farage, who lives with his press officer Alexandra Phillips.

Mr Farage defended her inclusion in the brochure because she is a “sincere” supporter of the party rather than an actor.

"What could be more sincere in literature than somebody who joined the party subsequently got a job in the party rather than an actress or a member of the public?” Mr Farage told the Telegraph. “It's the most ridiculous argument I've ever heard in my life. Most broadcasts for most parties use actors. We use Ukippers."

Separately, the party announced it would not be taking action against David Challice, the party’s Communications Manager, who has suggested that "cash-strapped Moslems" should have multiple wives in order to gain more benefits and described Greeks as "vile".

The comments were a joke, a party spokesman said. "UKIP is not a party that believes in public debate and conversation being stifled by an obsession with political correctness. So the threshold for which the mere expression of opinion merits disciplinary action should be set high."

He added: "There are quite legitimate public concerns about the interaction of the benefits system with men who have multiple wives."

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