Former Labour trade minister defends Nigel Farage over HIV migrant ban

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Former Labour trade minister Lord Digby Jones has defended UKIP leader Nigel Farage after he claimed that people with HIV should be banned from the UK.

The United Kingdom Independence Party politician was condemned by both Terrence Higgins Trust and the National AIDS Trust, after he said he would limit entry to the UK to: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.”

However, he has been defended by crossbench peer and former CBI boss Lord Digby Jones.

Lord Jones – who was Minister of State for Trade and Investment under Gordon Brown – told BBC News: “We should be saying, ‘I don’t want you to come into this country with a communicable disease’.

“[People are thinking] ‘I don’t really want you to come here and give me Aids’.

“I don’t care if they are black, white, gay, straight, male, female, I couldn’t give a monkeys.

“You’re not here, so why should you come here? This isn’t discriminatory against the person.

“You have a problem which could threaten our society and we actually don’t want to weaken our society.”

Yusef Azad of National AIDS Trust) said: “Nigel Farage’s comments on banning people with HIV from migrating to the UK are both ignorant and discriminatory.

“People with HIV on treatment can live normal life-spans and be non-infectious – they make important contributions to our society in every field and profession. And HIV treatment itself is becoming cheaper all the time with the arrival of generic drugs.

“If Mr Farage believes a migrant with HIV cannot make a net contribution to our society, he believes the same about UK-born citizens with HIV. That is factually incorrect and deeply stigmatising.

“To call for entry bans, to lump people with HIV in with criminals, to describe HIV simply as a ‘life-threatening disease’ are relics from the bad-old days of AIDS panic. They don’t contain the spread of HIV, they drive the spread of HIV.”