Britain’s Work and Pensions Minister and former leader of the Conservative Party Iain Duncan Smith has said that the Conservative Party could “confound the polls” on May 22nd, and said that Conservative voters are becoming increasingly wary given reports that link UKIP to some former British National Party (BNP) members.
Speaking to a packed room of young Conservative Party activists last night, Duncan Smith, known as ‘IDS’ to most, told Tory activists that while UKIP is doing better in the polls, that numerous stories about the party and its members will “take some time to seep through” and that Labour’s vote is also suffering as a result of UKIP.
He admitted that the mainstream parties had not done enough to convince people that the European elections are important: “Is it just a protest vote or does it really matter? The trouble with the European elections is we have been really slow to remind people that that this really matters. A significant amount of your legislation now comes is now made in Brussels, whether you like it or not, that’s essentially what happens.
“So you need people in that place to be able to make some of the right decisions, to block stuff, to do stuff that’s right. Getting reminding them that the Conservative Party is a party of government that understands what it takes to govern, and that what we plan to do, free markets, lower taxation, more control over your own lives – we want to protect and we advance them in the UK and elsewhere.”
IDS then pivoted onto what he called “extremism” within UKIP, linking some of their party members and activists to the extremist British National Party.
“There is a suggestion, a whiff of extremism coming through from the BNP (sic, UKIP) right now. You’ve already seen a load of stuff that they’ve said. I know from polling that voters who have voted conservative feel very uneasy with the association of UKIP close to what I call some quite extreme elements. This kind of stuff worries them but it takes some time to seep through. We know genuinely the last thing conservatives want to be associated with is anything that touches on the BNP. They genuinely don’t like the BNP and the suggestions that UKIP may be in any way close to that is a problem so just telling them about the government that is rational, reasonable and getting the job done is quite important.”
Speaking on the likelihood of UKIP coming first in the European elections, IDS said that Tory activists should try to confound the polls via a massive ‘get out the vote’ effort. He said that Labour should be “romping ahead” at this point – and indicated that the reason that Ed Miliband’s party is not doing so is a sign of weakness.
IDS reflected on Farage’s popularity too, calling him a “none of the above” candidate, and a “non-politician politician”:
“Turnout is particularly important on the European elections because we’ve had turnouts in their late 20s, early 30s. If you get an extra 10 people out in the street that can turn the whole decision because it doesn’t take a lot. If you get another 10 percent and that 10 percent tend to be Conservatives that don’t normally vote in a European election there is a fair chance that no matter what the national poll says you will actually do a lot better than the national poll.
“This is not all a story about the Conservatives. There is a big story about to run about Labour. Labour is the party of opposition and why is that party of opposition not romping home on the Europeans at a difficult time for the government which is basically mid term by normal circumstances… at this point you would expect the Labour party in opposition as we did in opposition to be romping ahead.
“If they don’t come in at the top (in the elections) there is a big question mark about their own vote – and Labour people are coming out and asking questions about whether they’ve lost touch with their core vote – so don’t despair about this being about the Tories, its not.
“Remember what Farage is about… he is the ‘none of the above candidate’. He is the ‘anti-politician’ politician. He is the guy who is selling himself on the idea that immigration – and this is the big issue he’s running on, its a European issue, its an immigration issue – and its a mess because all the political parties don’t care. It is a very simple message he’s running on. No matter what publicity he gets, the better it is for him. The more he’s in the public eye the more he gains because he’s not us. He’s not Conservative, he’s not Labour, he’s not Lib Dem.”
Responding to the comments, UKIP’s European Election candidate Tim Aker told Breitbart London: “The three establishment parties have given up explaining why they want us to remain in the EU and instead are throwing around slurs, accusations and insults.
“The choice is clear for May 22nd, if you want to stay in the EU, you’re spoilt for choice. You can vote for Iain Duncan Smith’s Tories, Labour or the Lib Dems. But if you want to regain control of our democracy, our borders and stop giving £55m a day away to the EU, then there’s only one choice – UKIP.”