Ukip man refuses to apologise for 'ethnic cleansing' tweet

Mr Zeid with Ukip leader Nigel Farage

Mr Zeid with Ukip leader Nigel Farage

One of the UK Independence Party’s most prominent Jewish activists has refused to apologise after suggesting white people had been ethnically cleansed from an area of London.

Jeremy Zeid, chairman of the party’s Harrow branch in north west London, wrote on Twitter after visiting a Ukip MEP in Essex: “The almost absence of white faces in Ilford is worrying.”

Attacking the Labour MP for Ilford South, Mr Zeid added: “Mike Gapes is so busy being ‘right on’ he is either blind to, or deliberately complicit in, the ethnic cleansing of Ilford.”

His comments were immediately attacked by Mr Gapes and the Conservatives’ Jewish MP in neighbouring Ilford North, Lee Scott, who called for Mr Zeid to resign.

But the Ukip man told the JC: “Some people might read it as racist and some might not. Why should I apologise? It’s a very strange thing – everybody bitches about this but these lefties don’t mention ethnic cleansing of Christians in Syria.

“It’s been a bloody nightmare. It was tongue-in-cheek, it was not designed to offend. Everyone goes into outrage mode.

“Everybody makes a mistake now and then but I’m not going to be a sacrificial lamb. Why should I resign? It wasn’t racist, it was an observation.”

Mr Zeid, who failed to win election to represent the party on Harrow Council last month, deleted his account on the social networking site after posting the messages last week.

Ukip said any action taken by party members which contravened its anti-racist stance would be investigated.

Last updated: 6:50pm, June 3 2014