Nigel Farage has said that he has never “incited violence”, but that he does “dare to challenge people”.
The Brexit Party leader has condemned comments by comedian Jo Brand after she talked about throwing battery acid at politicians on a BBC Radio 4 programme.
He told talkRADIO’s James Whale: “People like you and I push the boundaries of debate - we test things and dare to challenge people - and we support diversity of opinion.
“If people are offended by what we say then tough, because we believe in free speech and liberty.
“What we don’t believe in - what I don’t believe you or I have ever done - is incited violence and that is the limit to free speech.
“You do not incite violence. I believe that is exactly what Jo Brand did on that programme.”
The Brexit Party leader has previously been forced to deny encouraging violence after he told an audience in 2017 he would "don khaki, pick up a rifle and head for the front lines" if Theresa May failed to deliver Brexit.
Speaking about the comment, he told talkRADIO that it was clearly "a metaphor".
Mr Farage also welcomed reports that the Metropolitan Police was assessing the comments following an allegation of incitement to violence.
“I also think that there are subjects that just aren’t funny - and the scourge of acid attacks that we have had in London is just not funny,” he said.
“[The police] are investigating hate crimes all the time - if nothing is done about this, it would be wrong.”
However, the Brexit Party leader said the police should just give Brand “a slap on the wrist”.
“The police should not spend much time on this. It is a clear cut case," he added.
“The bigger question is about the BBC. This was a pre-recorded programme that the BBC editors thought was acceptable.”
The BBC has said that it regrets "any offence" the programme has caused, and that it would be edited for catch-up services.
A BBC spokeswoman said: "Heresy is a long-running comedy programme where, as the title implies and as our listeners know, panellists often say things which are deliberately provocative and go against societal norms but are not intended to be taken seriously.
"We carefully considered the programme before broadcast. It was never intended to encourage or condone violence, and it does not do so, but we have noted the strong reaction to it.
"Comedy will always push boundaries and will continue to do so, but on this occasion we have decided to edit the programme. We regret any offence we have caused.”