UKIP MP Douglas Carswell: Banning migrants with HIV is not a serious suggestion

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Newly-elected UKIP MP Douglas Carswell has claimed that Nigel Farage’s call to ban people with HIV from entering the UK wasn’t “serious”.

The UKIP leader said this week, when asked whether which kinds of people should be allowed to enter the UK: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.”

He has faced criticism for the comments, with HIV/AIDS charities including the Terrence Higgins Trust and National AIDS Trust condemning the comments, as well as a number of other politicians.

However, appearing on the Andrew Marr Show, Mr Carswell said: “I think this row has been slightly confected.

“No one is seriously suggesting we should screen people for HIV coming in.

“What I think Nigel rightly said is we need a system like in Australia, a tough system to control our borders but it’s got to be humane.

“Being humane also means discretion and common sense.”

His comments are an about-face from those when previously asked about the row, when he said: “I agree with everything that Nigel has said.”

Despite Mr Carswell’s assertion, Nigel Farage has stood by his suggestion that migrants with HIV should be banned from the UK.

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

“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 as 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.”