UK Independence Party
| UK Independence Party |
|Headquarters||Lexdrum House Newton Abbot, Devon|
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) is a Eurosceptic right-wing populist political party in the United Kingdom, founded in 1993 by members of the Anti-Federalist League. In its constitution UKIP describes itself as a "democratic, libertarian party" and, in June 2014, reported a membership of over 39,000.
Nigel Farage, UKIP's leader from 2006 to 2009, was re-elected as leader on 5 November 2010. Nigel Farage is a founding member of the party, and has been a UKIP Member of the European Parliament (MEP) since 1999.
Following UKIP's major gains in the May 2014 local council and Euro elections, some Tory backbenchers - including Eurosceptics Douglas Carswell, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Peter Bone - called for an electoral pact with UKIP at the 2015 General Election. But PM David Cameron quickly rejected the call, saying:
- "We are the Conservative Party. We don't do pacts and deals. We are fighting all out for an all-out win at the next election."
On 2 September 2014, in the first opinion poll published for the Clacton by-election, Tory fund-raiser Lord Ashcroft put UKIP candidate Douglas Carswell on 56 per cent, 32 points ahead of the Conservatives on 24 per cent. Labour were on 16 per cent, and the Liberal Democrats and Others on 2 per cent each.
At the UKIP party conference in Doncaster in September 2014, the party said it would cut income tax from 40p to 35p for people earning up to £55,000 and promised to raise to £13,500 the amount people can earn before paying any income tax. In a plan to win the "blue-collar vote", Nigel Farage's party pledged to fund the changes by leaving the EU and cutting UK foreign aid by 85%. Nigel Farage said he expected UKIP to have "real influence" after the election and told the BBC it was important that people thinking of voting for UKIP knew what his party would be "fighting for" in the event of a hung Parliament next May. Farage addressed an estimated 2,000 activists at the conference at Doncaster Racecourse - which is near Labour leader Ed Miliband's constituency, making a direct appeal to Labour voters by claiming the opposition had failed to stand up for the people it was founded to represent. On the last day of the conference, and on the eve of the Conservative Party conference, Tory MP Mark Reckless appeared on the platform and announced he would be following Douglas Carswell and defecting to UKIP.
Deep political connections
In May 2014, UKIP became the first party in over a century other than Labour or the Conservatives to come first in a United Kingdom-wide election, with its performance in the 2014 European elections giving it 24 of the UK's 73 seats in the European Parliament. Although UKIP has never won a seat in the House of Commons, it has three members in the House of Lords and holds one seat in the Northern Ireland Assembly. The party's performance in the 2013 local elections, when it came fourth in the number of council seats won and third in nationwide vote share, was called the "biggest surge for a fourth party" in British politics since the Second World War.
Electoral Stitch Up
In a MailOnline article on 7 September 2014, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg called for a pre-Election pact with UKIP and for Nigel Farage to be made Deputy Prime Minister in a future Tory/UKIP Coalition Government:
- In many ways the current Government has been highly successful. It has begun the long process of restoring sound money, made major reforms to a number of public services and managed to begin restructuring the bloated Welfare Bill. Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the opinion polls. Between them, the (small ‘c’) conservative parties have nearly 50 per cent, while the two major forces of the Left are on 42.5 per cent.
- About two-thirds of UKIP supporters are former Conservatives. Thus the split in the Tory family – demonstrated by Douglas Carswell’s defection last month – makes it difficult for the Tory/LibDem Coalition to win an Election, potentially paving the way for Ed Miliband to win despite having little more than one-third of the vote. The obvious answer is for the Tories and UKIP to do a pre-Election deal.
- In a first-past-the-post system there is no prospect of doing a post-Election pact; each party takes too many of its voters from the same pool so there would not be enough combined MPs to form a coalition. Now there are obstacles in the way of a pre-Election pact, but these are more emotional than rational. It is said that the two leaders do not like each other, but coalition has shown that Ministers from separate parties can work effectively with each other, and there is no obvious personal animosity between David Cameron and Nick Clegg or George Osborne and Danny Alexander. It is in the nature of politics that leaders attack each other, but that ought not unduly to upset a thick-skinned statesman.
- Despite being held back by coalition, the Prime Minister has still delivered some important Eurosceptic gains. He vetoed the fiscal compact, voted against Mr Juncker, managed to cut the EU budget and enshrined in law a referendum lock on future treaties. Against this he is idiosyncratically supporting the European Arrest Warrant, which is a notable aspect of the creation of a federal Europe. Nonetheless, this leaves the balance in his favour even if he seems sometimes to have responded to pressure.
- What is certain is that his promise of an in/out referendum if returned in 2015 is sincere and can only happen if he wins. This means that UKIP can achieve its main policy objective only if the Tories win the Election – yet it is the principal obstacle to this happening. Sheer bloody mindedness is stopping the conservative family from dominating the UK political scene to achieve what all of us want. Regrettably, the Clacton by-election will make it worse, as positions become more entrenched. Therefore, some people have started suggesting that nothing can be done until after an Election at which point there will be some re-alignment of the Right. This seems a defeatist view.
- David Cameron has the opportunity to solve the problem now if he is generous. The undoubted talents and charisma of Nigel Farage should be recognised. He appeals to not only traditional Conservative members but also to those who have felt disenfranchised, people who feel that politicians are part of a too-cosy establishment while UKIP is shaking it up. In some respects he appeals in a way that Boris Johnson does to those with Conservative values who are not necessarily Tory.
- Prior to the Election such an offer needs to help UKIP in its ambition to win parliamentary seats. This could start with the House of Lords where, in spite of its recent electoral success, no new UKIP peer has been created. It needs to be followed by deals in individual seats. There are a number vacant because of retirement, which may be suitable, as well as the ones where the Conservatives cannot expect to win and where UKIP is making inroads against Labour. After the Election, if this strategy were adopted, there would be four Cabinet posts available through the removal of the Liberal Democrats.
- Nigel Farage would be a much preferable Deputy Prime Minister to any true Conservative than Nick Clegg, while replacing Vince Cable with someone from UKIP would have a pleasant irony. Perhaps as a sign of good faith even the Minister for Europe could be a UKIP MP.
- If the Prime Minister were to do this he would suddenly have taken charge of events, no longer could his critics say – as Sir Walter Raleigh said of Elizabeth I – that he ‘did it all by halves’. He would have gone further than he needed to go, rather than leaving the impression of being pushed unwillingly into something, and it would provide the launch pad for a General Election.
- In the current atmosphere where politicians are so distrusted, it would act as a guarantee of how a future Conservative Government would be run because it would be beholden to a second party. The promise of a referendum would clearly be of an unbreakable nature in coalition with UKIP, while the tone of the EU renegotiation would be considerably stronger. It would have to be taken more seriously within the EU if a party that wanted to leave were in the Government. It would also be a recognition that all political parties are coalitions covering a range of views.
- Historically, one of the strengths of the Tory Party has been its ability to stretch from Rab Butler to Enoch Powell in so civilised a way that Powell supported Butler’s leadership ambitions. Narrowing the base with a third of potential supporters in another similar party is a sure way to defeat. Generosity, courage and sense pave the path to victory.
- Sadly, I doubt this will be done in time, so I am looking forward to some fair weather in Clacton for a spot of canvassing against a respected erstwhile colleague. It is the district in which my wife grew up, so it could be something of a family outing to join fellow Conservatives opposing someone with whom they agree on most policy issues.
Ruled out by George Osborne
Interviewed on The Andrew Marr Show on 7 September 2014, Chancellor George Osborne declared there would be "no pact with UKIP". Nor would he support the idea that Boris Johnson should stand as the Conservative candidate in the Clacton by-election in an effort to defeat former Tory MP Douglas Carswell who is the UKIP candidate.
- Fieschi, Catherine (15 June 2004). "The new avengers". The Guardian. London: Guardian News & Media. Retrieved 13 November 2008.
- Wolfram Nordsieck. "Parties and Elections in Europe: The database about parliamentary elections and political parties in Europe, by Wolfram Nordsieck". Parties-and-elections.eu. Retrieved 3 March 2013.
- "Constitution of the UK Independence Party". Retrieved 23 May 2014.
Objectives: 2.5 The Party is a democratic, libertarian Party
- "Nigel Farage re-elected to lead UK Independence Party". BBC News. 5 November 2010.
- "Profile: Nigel Farage". BBC News. 12 September 2006. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- 'FARAGE, Nigel Paul', Who's Who 2013, A & C Black, 2013; online edn, Oxford University Press, Dec 2012; online edition, November 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2013.
- "No Conservative pact with UKIP, says David Cameron"
- "UKIP 32 points ahead in Clacton"
- "UKIP conference: Income tax cuts plan unveiled"
- "Conservative MP Mark Reckless defects to UKIP"
- "What UKIP victory means". BBC. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
- "Strangford MLA David McNarry joins UK Independence Party". BBC News. 4 October 2012.
- Sam McBride, "McNarry set to join UKIP", Belfast Newsletter, 4 October 2012 (Archived at the Internet Archive)
- "Local elections: Nigel Farage hails results as a 'game changer'". BBC. 3 May 2013.
- Watt, Nicholas (3 May 2013). "Ukip will change face of British politics like SDP, says Nigel Farage". The Guardian. London.
- "Why I believe we must give Clegg's job to Nigel Farage... and get in bed with UKIP"
- "The Andrew Marr Show 07/09/2014"
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