Leader of the UK Independence Party Nigel Farage has hinted that he may be open to forming a coalition with the Prime Minister David Cameron and the Conservative Party after the next election if Cameron was able to guarantee a fair referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.
Mr Farage has previously indicated that his party would not be open to a deal with the Tories. Speaking yesterday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Mr Farage also ruled out the possibility of supporting Ed Miliband’s Labour Party “while Miliband [is] turning his back on a referendum on our membership of the European Union.”
But he told Mr Marr: “We could potentially do a deal with Mr Cameron on this, but not unless the timing and the terms of the referendum were right.”
Pressed as to what those terms might be, he replied: “I would say I want a referendum, I want it now. I want a referendum with good rules – namely the spending limits for both sides are the same – and I want a guarantee that in this referendum the only people that can vote are British citizens because at the moment you know there are 4 million or so EU citizens living in Britain who I do not think should be allowed to vote in that referendum.”
However, when quizzed by Marr as to what form support for the Conservatives might take, Farage said: “It’s very unlikely to think of UKIP joining a coalition. You know I don’t think the lure of a ministerial car is the reason that I got into politics in the first place. […]. I got into politics because I want to change things and that’s what UKIP is here to do.”
The weekend was a busy one for the UKIP leader, bringing the defection of one of his MEP’s Amjad Bashir to the Conservatives. Mr Bashir was photographed sitting alongside David Cameron who said he was “absolutely delighted” at the defection.
However, Ukip maintain that Mr Bashir was facing suspension by them for a number of alleged improprieties, including financial irregularities and candidate fixing.
Mr Farage said: “We’ve been increasingly alarmed by Mr Bashir’s behaviour over the last few months. He didn’t tell us the truth about the employment of illegal immigrants in his business. There are some money -”
Mr Marr interjected: “He denies all of this, we have to say, very strongly”, to which Mr Farage relied “Well I’m afraid there’s some quite strong documentary evidence and we’ve been investigating this. There are some big open questions in Brussels about money. And the final straw on Friday, a Hustings meeting that took place in West Yorkshire where gerrymandering appears to have taken place.
“My only surprise, and my genuine surprise, is that the Conservative Party have accepted him caveat emptor.“