Tooting’s Polish UKIP candidate has defended the Race Relations Act after Nigel Farage called for it to be scrapped for not being a ‘significant issue’.
Nigel Farage sparked a race row last month by commenting that legislation against racial discrimination should be scrapped, his comments drew the ire of Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour leader Ed Miliband.
With more than 3,000 race discrimination cases recorded in the UK over 2013/14, Tooting’s UKIP candidate Przemek Skwirczynski believes the 1965 Race Relations Act laws should remain.
“It doesn’t make sense to scrap it, personally,” said Mr Skwirczynski, who moved to the UK from his native Poland in 1999 aged 16.
“The law itself is a good thing as racial discrimination can still occur and that is something that we don’t want in our society.”
Mr Farage also believed that companies should be able to prioritise British workers over those from other EU countries – another view the former Conservative Party member Mr Skwirczynski doesn’t hold.
“This is not something I agree with as it certainly should be based on a meritocracy,” he said.
“However I don’t believe race discrimination is what it was a few decades ago.”
UKIP have been riddled with controversies in recent years with incidents of racism, sexism, Islamophobia and xenophobia – a matter Mr Skwirczynski admitted was unacceptable.
“In the future the Polish vote, which is underrepresented at present, will become very important.”
However he was quick to point out controversies surrounding former Labour Foreign Secretary Jack Straw’s ‘cash for access’ claims.
“It certainly doesn’t help our cause and it shouldn’t be part of UKIP but I will say that those candidates have been promptly reprimanded,” said Mr Skwirczynski.
“These scandals, aren’t they worse? If you look at the parliamentary candidates that are standing in south London, UKIP offers the most international of candidates.
“I’m Polish, Ace Nnorom (Vauxhall) is Cameroonian, Rathy Alagaratnam (Dulwich) is Sri Lankan and Bruce Machan is Zimbabwean (Streatham). So that blows racist accusations out of the water.”
Mr Skwirczynski believes the NHS and Tooting’s St George’s hospital is of paramount importance and that UKIP are the only party offering a viable plan to finance the NHS – by slashing the foreign aid budget to free up approximately £5b.
“This is an issue that is so important to me and Tooting. I want to be a champion for this hospital – one of the best in Britain – and secure the funding they need,” he said.
In 2010, UKIP received a paltry 624 votes (1.2%) in Tooting but Mr Skwirczynski is confident this will rise in May – as supported by UKIP’s popularity surge to 14% (YouGov poll) – and the long-established Polish community in Tooting.
“UKIP has managed to shift itself from being a single issue party to being more multifaceted and attracting more voters on top of the working class,” he said.
“I was attracted to UKIP for its Eurosceptic stance and Libertarian values and our popularity is growing further still.
“I am the chairman of Friends of Poland’ in UKIP and we have been very active in this community which is ever growing. In the future the Polish vote, which is underrepresented at present, will become very important.”