THE former chairman of Basildon Hospital has backed Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s view that immigrants with HIV should not receive free treatment.

Ian Luder, who quit his hospital role to stand as Ukip’s parliamentary candidate in South Basildon and East Thurrock, made the comments during a radio interview.

Mr Farage made controversial comments during last week’s ITV leader’s debate in which he said 60 per cent of the 7,000 people being diagnosed as HIV positive in the UK every year were foreign nationals and they should not immediately receive free treatment on the NHS when they arrive in the UK.

During an interview yesterday, Mr Luder was asked if Mr Farage was right to argue foreign patients with HIV should not be treated.

Mr Luder said: “Absolutely he was. It’s a national health service, it’s under considerable stress in terms of funding and all the parties are scrambling around to try and find how to pay for it.

“No other country in the world allows you to go to that country and start having free treatment on their health service.

“British residents who get HIV will be treated for free, but we have to clamp down on health tourism and I make no apology for that whatsoever.”

Mr Luder, a former Mayor of London and city accountant, joined Basildon Hospital as chairman in April 2012 and stood down in January.

The previous Ukip candidate, Kerry Smith, left the party in December after a recording of him using offensive language emerged.

Mr Smith, who will stand as an independent candidate next month, criticised Mr Luder’s view because it could lead to further spread of disease.

He said: “It’s a false economy. A foreign person can sleep with or share a needle with a British person.

“Maybe we should restrict entry for people, but the idea of treating some people, but not all, is not the way forward.”

The National Aids Trust criticised Mr Farage’s comments, stating his claims were factually incorrect.