Mike Read withdraws 'racist' UKIP Calypso song
Updated on October 22, 2014
Read's song had the backing of UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who urged supporters to get it to number one
Former BBC Radio 1 DJ Mike Read has requested a song he wrote in support of UKIP be withdrawn from sale following complaints that it was racist.
UKIP Calypso, performed with a mock Caribbean accent, sings the praises of party leader Nigel Farage.
"I am so sorry that the song unintentionally caused offence. It was never meant to, and I apologise unreservedly," Read said.
"I have told the record company to withdraw the single immediately."
Record label Angel Air declined to comment to the BBC.
The song, credited to The Independents, makes digs at Prime Minister David Cameron, Chancellor George Osborne and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.
It makes references to tax, immigration and the European Union, with lines like: "With the EU we must be on our mettle/Want to change our lawnmowers and our kettles."
The song also features the lines: "The leaders committed a cardinal sin/Open the borders let them all come in/Illegal immigrants in every town/Stand up and be counted Blair and Brown."
UKIP said it would donate the proceeds it was due to the Red Cross for its Ebola Outreach programme
Shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna called the song "distasteful", while Labour MP David Lammy said it showed the party were "tone deaf elitists".
Conservative MP Nigel Evans added: "Why have they chosen a Jamaican calypso, which really represents a whole section of society they want to close the door to?
"I suppose it is their way of saying 'We are not racist', but it shows how out of touch they are."
Speaking to BBC Radio Berkshire on Monday, Read defended the song, saying he found the accusations of racism "extraordinary".
He added: "It's an old-fashioned political satire... you can't sing a calypso with a Surrey accent."
'A bit of fun'
He later told BBC London: "People are very, very, very quick to take offence now at something that years ago would have been deemed to be a bit of satire and a bit of fun.
"But now with social media everybody can assume that you meant something appalling by it, which of course I didn't. I've got so many chums out in the Caribbean. I've spent a lot of time out there."
In response to Read's request to withdraw the song from sale, a UKIP spokesman said: "This is Mike's song and it is obviously his decision what to do with it.
"We do think it is a shame that he has been treated so harshly by many in the 'right on' media, but we respect his decision. We thought it was just a bit of fun, as did thousands of people, evidenced by how well it has been selling.
He added: "Were it not for the synthetic outrage, the song would have generated a lot of money for charity, as profits were to be split with the Red Cross for their Ebola Outreach programme.
"It's a pity those so concerned with political correctness have trodden all over this."
The song was released on iTunes and Amazon and 20p from every 79p download was to go to UKIP.
The party said it will now be donating all the proceeds it was due to the Red Cross, in a bid to make up the proceeds affected by the song's withdrawal.