An under-fire UK Independence Party (UKIP) chairman who said that London is being 'ethnically cleansed' claims attacks against him prove: "Freedom of speech is now dead."

Jeremy Zeid, UKIP chairman for the London borough of Harrow, took to social media website Twitter yesterday after a visit to Ilford, in north east London, and wrote: "...the almost [sic] absence of white faces in Ilford is worrying."

He then followed that tweet with an attack on the local Labour MP Mike Gapes, who he said "is so busy being ‘right on’ he is either blind to or deliberately complicit in the ethnic cleansing of Ilford."

Mr Gapes responded: "This is an insult to my constituents," and Mr Zeid has since been on the end of a barrage of criticism on Twitter.

Speaking exclusively to getwestlondon , Mr Zeid said: "I have been fighting racism for 40 years, but the problem now is, the word racism no longer means anything. It is used to shut down discussion and nothing more.           

Mr Zeid, right, campaigning with fellow local UKIP member Herbert Crossman
 

"What I was referring to was that when I came out of Ilford station, I was the only white face. That is not a race thing, it is an observation. It has happened.

"It is not a problem, but it shows that freedom of speech is now dead. You are now not allowed to share your thoughts and that is cultural Marxism."

UKIP candidate: party shouldn't stand in Hounslow next year  

Mr Zeid, who is Jewish and whose family came to the UK fleeing persecution from Russia and Poland, admitted: "I probably did not use the right words."

The former Conservative councillor failed to get elected in last week's local elections.

He added: "I had two people say to me the other day that here in Harrow we have too many Asians and Indians. Do you know what race they were? They were black."

Mr Zeid has since deleted his Twitter account, saying: "It is too much of a pain in the arse."