An attempt by the Home Secretary Theresa May to get a laugh at the Conservative Party Conference by recycling one of Nigel Farage’s old routines has back-fired badly after it emerged the anecdote she repeated was largely untrue.
In July, as part of a national speaking tour to promote his new book Fighting Bull the Ukip leader appeared at the Eastleigh Railway Institute and recounted to a full house a tall tale regarding an immigrant fighting deportation.
Farage said a convicted killer had used the Human Rights Act to avoid deportation by claiming ownership of a cat.
He told the audience how a court had decided that the man:
“..Should not be deported because … (and I really am not making this up)… because he had a pet cat!”
In Manchester today Theresa May matched Nigel Farage word for word, pause for pause when talking about the same immigrant who she said:
“.. Cannot be deported because – (and I am not making this up) – because he had a pet cat!”
Almost identical – except that Nigel Farage got a much bigger laugh as he is a natural raconteur and Theresa May clearly isn’t.
The problem is the story was indeed ‘made up’– with the result that an embarrassed Theresa May was confronted with the evidence on live TV by BBC presenter Andrew Neil.
The story originated in 2008 and seems to have developed into an urban myth, often quoted by opponents of the Human Rights Act – possibly confusing the case with that of Learco Chindamo, a migrant convicted of the murder of headmaster Phillip Lawrence.
Chindamo had avoided deportation after it was ruled that it would breach his Human Right to a family life.
At Eastleigh, Nigel Farage claimed that the incident had occurred a few weeks ago and that the immigrant was a Peruvian – but he was actually a Bolivian. Farage mistakenly claimed that the man had a conviction for manslaughter although it was for shop lifting.
Both politicians wrongly claimed the man had been granted leave to stay under the Human Rights Act when in fact it was because the immigration tribunal had previously failed to treat his partner as a spouse which would accord a right of residence.
But it was true to say that the person in question owned a cat.
It would seem that a Tory party aide must have attended one of Nigel Farage’s speaking engagements and taken notes of his best quips!
Ukip members were once described by David Cameron as ‘fruit cakes , loonies and closet racists”
Daily Mash: “Government must not get bogged down by facts”