Lenny Henry thanks supporters after Ukip 'black country’ race row

Lenny Henry has thanked supporters after a Ukip candidate said the comedian should emigrate to a ‘black country’.

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Comedian and actor Lenny Henry performed the official opening of the new multi-million Dudley archives centre

William Henwood, of Enfield, north London, made the comment on Twitter in response to a speech by Dudley-born Henry in which he said ethnic minorities were under-represented on British TV.

The 66-year-old, who has since defended his tweet about Henry, is standing in next month’s local council elections in Enfield.

He tweeted: “If he (Henry) wants a lot of blacks around go and live in a black country.”

On another occasion, Mr Henwood tweeted: “Islam reminds me of the 3rd Reich Strength through violence against the citizens.” He later added: “I think if black people come to this country and don’t like mixing with white people why are they here?”

But Mr Henwood has faced a Twitter backlash, with users pointing out that Dudley-born Henry was from the Black Country.

And the comic himself took to the social network to give his view of the row:

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt said the comments on Henry were racist.

He said: “I do think those comments about Lenny Henry were absolutely disgusting.

“It’s for Nigel Farage to make absolutely clear that it’s not Ukip’s official view, but also to explain why so many people with those kinds of view seem to be attracted to becoming candidates for Ukip.”

Asked if he thought the comments were racist, Mr Hunt replied: “Yes I do. I think it’s totally unacceptable and (Henry) is as British as you and I are.”

Ukip deputy chairman Neil Hamilton, a former Tory MP, said Mr Henwood’s case would be investigated.

“We have strict rules on racism,” he said. “We don’t allow it.”

A Ukip spokesman said the matter had been referred to the party’s national executive with a view to disciplinary action.

Henry responded by today tweeting: “loving the ‘but hang on, Lenny IS actually from the Black Country’ rejoinders…priceless…thanks for having my back.”