UKIP leader Nigel Farage has declared that Britain will no longer be a “first world country” for millions of ordinary workers unless we get control of our borders. Launching his final push ahead of Thursday’s European Elections, Mr Farage vowed to put immigration a the top of the agenda.
He added that economic turmoil within the Eurozone could mean that Britain sees a “large migratory wave” from southern Europe.
Speaking to the Sunday Times, Mr Farage added that immigration only benefited “big corporates” and “the rich” who could hire foreigners as cheap labour. He said: “This country is becoming the low-wage capital of the western world. We face the prospect where millions of British families, unless we take a grip on our borders, will effectively not be living in a first world country any more.”
He said that UKIP’s policy of a points-based immigration system similar to Australia, which would only attract people with “skills or trades” would limit immigration to between 10,000 and 40,000 per year, compared to the 212,000 Britain has at the moment.
He also said that the only way we will effectively cut immigration is by leaving the European Union: “There is no point in Cameron or [Ed] Miliband or [Nick] Clegg talking about ambitions for net migration. The only way we can control it is to divorce ourselves from political union: 485m people have got EU passports — they effectively have a British passport. As many of them as want to come, can come.”
UKIP have faced weeks of attacks from the establishment media, focussing on the behaviour of party candidates and insinuating that the party has a racist undercurrent. Mr Farage told the Sunday Times that he would expel the “idiots” from his party, but blamed the negative press coverage on Britain’s political establishment. “Over the last few weeks the ability to debate the EU has been absent. For them to have been held up as representative of our party isn’t the case,” he said.
After the European Elections, there is speculation that Mr Farage may stand for Westminster at next year’s General Election. He strongly hinted that he will pick a constituency in Kent, but Eastleigh, where UKIP finished a close second in a recent by-election, may also be tempting.
He also said that the option of a joint Conservative-UKIP ticket in various constituencies at the next election “might be a good one”, and would consider propping up a Conservative government if it meant getting a referendum on the EU.
Although he claims to have no interest in a Cabinet job, he said it “would be tempting” if he were offered the position of Europe minister. “I might make an exception for that. I’d like to go and see the next commission president to negotiate our withdrawal.”