Polish Ukip Candidate Rejects Farage Comments on Favouring British Workers

Farage and Ukip
Leader of Britain's UK Independence Party (UKIP) and member of the European Parliament (MEP) Nigel Farage attends a debate at the European Parliament in Strasbourg February 11, 2015. Vincent Kessle/REUTERS

A Polish Ukip candidate has rejected Nigel Farage's comments that British employers should favour British workers over Polish ones.

However, Przemek Skwirczynski, the Ukip parliamentary candidate for Tooting in south London, says that Ukip's employment policy is meritocratic and non-discriminatory, and backed Farage over the scrapping of anti-discrimination laws.

In an interview for a Channel 4 documentary to be broadcast on March 19, Farage said that he would get rid of much of the current discrimination legislation, which exists to prevent employers from discriminating between candidates on the basis of race and nationality. He added that, while race discrimination in employment may have been an issue 40 years ago, it was not so today.

In a further interview with the BBC, Farage defended his comments. Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today Programme he said that he had not mentioned race, but does believe "there should be a presumption for British employers in favour of them employing British people as opposed to somebody from Poland".

But Skwirczynski disagrees. "I definitely don't support that British workers should be favoured ahead of Polish ones," he says. "I believe in meritocracy, that the best person should get the job."

However, he does agree with Farage that employment discrimination is no longer a problem.

"I think that there is definitely some truth in what he said in terms of discrimination. It definitely doesn't seem to be happening as much, it doesn't seem to be as much of an issue as in the 50s or 60s," says Skwirczynski.

"So far I've not seen this interview. From what I read from Mr Farage or the Ukip head office they said whatever the [BBC] article conveys seems like a misrepresentation. As far as I know the policy on immigration and employment is that we are in favour of a points-based system which is meritocratic, unlike the current system which discriminates in favour of EU citizens."

"In my opinion Ukip is not in favour of any discrimination," he adds.

Skwirczynski immigrated to the UK in 1999, aged 16, from Łódź, Poland's third-largest city. He joined the Conservative Party in 2010 but left in 2013 after becoming disillusioned with the coalition government.

He is the chairman of Friends of Poland in Ukip, which seeks to promote the party's policies amongst the Polish community in the UK. Their Facebook page currently has 380 'likes'. Skwirczynski says he was attracted to Ukip by its demands for a referendum on the UK's membership of the European Union.

"I've always been eurosceptic. Since even before I came to Britain, I always perceived the idea of the European Union as such that it would form one country sooner or later and I don't like that idea. I like the diversity we had 10 years ago with each country being its own country."

He adds that the UK and Poland have a common interest is in shale gas extraction, commonly known as fracking, a method which he is in favour of.

Correction: This article has been updated to clarify the views of Mr Skwirczynski. Although he supports Mr Farage's views on anti-discrimination laws, he does not believe companies should be able to prioritise British workers over those from other EU countries.