'Stupid and inaccurate' - anger as Nigel Farage tells BBC there are 'streets in Oldham where nobody speaks English'

-Credit: (Image: Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News)
-Credit: (Image: Sean Hansford | Manchester Evening News)


The boss of Oldham council has hit back at the ‘stupid and inaccurate’ comments made by Nigel Farage, after the Reform UK leader said there were streets in the borough ‘where no one speaks English’.

In an interview with BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Nigel Farage defended his claim that British Muslims ‘do not share British values’ and gave Oldham as an example, saying there were streets where 'no one' spoke English. He also claimed towns in the UK had ‘become literally unrecognisable’ as a result of immigrants 'who don't integrate into the community'.

In response, Labour council leader Arooj Shah said: “Oldham is a town where people support each other, where community is at our heart, and we aren't defined by his politics of hate.

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"The comments by Nigel Farage about Oldham are as stupid and inaccurate as they are offensive. In Oldham we are trying to fight back against 14 years of government cuts to public services, and the cost of living crisis like so many parts of the north.

“We have a strong sense of community, great businesses and a shared determination and pride amongst our residents. We will carry on trying to improve things as a council and as a community and will leave these divisive, ignorant political comments to others.’

Reform UK honorary president Nigel Farage pauses as he speaks during a party press conference
Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage is now Reform UK's honorary president -Credit:Carl Court/Getty Images

Coun Shah criticised the politician and broadcaster, who yesterday announced his intention to run as a general election candidate in Conservative-held Clacton, for political posturing.

She said: "As Reform and the Conservative Party go to war with each other for a tiny slice of the British electorate, trying to antagonise and provoke hate and division to grab a handful of votes, residents in Oldham and across the UK want answers to the real issues facing people today.

“This means addressing the cost of living crisis, the future of the NHS, and the availability of quality affordable homes. ”

Cllr Arooj Shah outside a mosque in Oldham
Council leader Arooj Shah described the comments as 'divisive' and 'ignorant' -Credit:ABNM Photography

Local Labour MP Jim McMahon added that the 'vast majority of Oldhamers' are 'hard-working people who want to accept and understand each other'.

Mr McMahon said: "We are not blind to the challenges but what we don’t accept is people trying to divide our town, pit communities against each other and stoke divisions – the worst type of politics which the people of Oldham are better than. Mr Farage does not speak for Oldham and what he is trying to do will not work.”

Jim McMahon, the MP for Oldham West and Royton, also responded to Farage's comments
Jim McMahon, the MP for Oldham West and Royton, also responded to Farage's comments -Credit:Getty Images

In a statement shared with the LDRS, local councillor and Oldham Group member Kamran Ghafoor described the comments as 'damaging'. He added: “I would like to invite Nigel Farage to visit Oldham. I will personally show him around to prove his claims are unfounded.

“The idea that there are streets in Oldham where no one speaks English simply isn’t true. Our town is a shining example of successful multiculturalism, where integration and mutual respect are a part of everyday life."