The UK Independence Party Euro MP for Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire, who was rebuked for complaining about the provision of taxpayer-funded aid to “bongo bongo land”, has expressed his regret for any genuine offence which might have been caused.
MEP Godfrey Bloom was recorded questioning the UK’s overseas aid payments, claiming the recipients spend the money on luxuries.
He told a meeting of supporters in the Midlands that those who receive aid spend the money on “Ray-Ban sunglasses, apartments in Paris, Ferraris and all the rest of it”.
His comments caused a national outcry.
Mr Bloom said today: “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.”