Footballer Joey Barton, who will appear on tonight’s BBC Question Time, has praised the UK Independence Party and said that its rise is due to the Conservative Party’s failure to “get its act together”.
The Queens Park Rangers player who is also famed for his philosophical tweets will become the third professional footballer to appear on the topical discussion show, the first being Derek Dougan of Wolverhampton Wanderers, and the second Burnley defender Clarke Carlisle.
Speaking to the Telegraph, the footballer said that he was preparing to answer questions on UKIP following the party’s triumph in the European elections.
He said: “For me, I can understand why people would like Nigel Farage. He’s a man who talks common sense around important issues for the British people, like immigration. I didn’t like the way the mainstream media turned round and said, ‘everyone who votes for Ukip is a racist’. That was very unfair.
“But when you look at Ukip as a voter, after Farage there’s very little in the party.”
He also said that the coalition parties, especially the Conservatives have only themselves to blame for the party’s rise. In fact, the Conservatives should he filling the role that UKIP that does.
“I personally think if the Conservative party got their act together we wouldn’t need Ukip,” he said.
One of Barton’s fellow panellists tonight will be Piers Morgan, with whom he occasionally argues on Twitter. This will be one of Morgan’s first major media appearances since losing his job at CNN.
Barton has previously spoken at the Oxford Union debating society and appeared on the BBC current affairs show Newsnight.
He told the Telegraph that it was good to be underestimate: “People think I’m a footballer, what opinion can I possibly have – but it’s a good position in life, to be underestimated. I’m a man who has an understanding of the world he lives in and is quite happy to talk openly and honestly about that.”