Ukip leader Nigel Farage has demanded a vote on the UK’s membership of the EU this year, as well as significant deficit reduction plans in order for his party to support a minority government.
However, he ruled out joining any coalition and dismissed comments that his party was taking part in talks this week, telling Breitbart London: “There will be no talks and will be no coalition.”
The statement will delight his party’s candidates in northern seats who had feared that the party risked losing voters to Labour if it looked like they would prop up David Cameron.
The MEP was taking part in a radio interview on BBC Radio 4’s World at One as the campaign enters its last few days with polls showing that no party will win an outright majority.
Mr Farage, who is standing in South Thanet, said his party would not join a formal coalition but hoped to have influence in the next parliamentary term through its MPs.
He said his “red lines” for any kind of support from his party would be a free and fair referendum and proper responsible management of the country’s spending.
“The national debt has doubled in five years and no one’s talking about it.
“So we would say: we would support you on your Budget if we can see serious deficit reduction plans.
“And in return for that what we would want is a referendum to be held by the end of this year.”
He dismissed the promise of David Cameron who said his party would hold a referendum in 2017 after renegotiation, should the Conservatives win an outright majority, saying the Tory leader’s plan was to “kick the issue into the long grass way beyond the General Election.”
“There’s no point waiting till 2017,” he said.
“There is no renegotiation on the really substantial points, the main one being the freedom of movement of people, and the second being supremacy of law – should the Supreme Court in London be the supreme court or should there be higher courts in Luxembourg and Strasbourg that can overrule use?
“These things are not even up for discussion.
“Why should we waste two years in a negotiation that will achieve frankly nothing?
“The only way Cameron will deliver this referendum and certainly the only way we will get a full, free and fair referendum is if there are enough Ukip MPs in the House of Commons to make sure we get a proper referendum and not a stitch-up.”
And in a swipe at Nick Clegg, who has been accused of abandoning his principles for a sniff of power, he said: “I don’t want a ministerial car but I would like to drive the agenda.”
As the country prepares for another result with no real winner, Mr Farage also said his party would be pushing for electoral reform, saying Ukip MPs would build the case for a change in the voting system to something based more on proportional representation in order for the country’s voting patterns to be properly reflected in Westminster.
“One of the problems is that the older generation voted because they felt they’d fought two World Wars for us to be a free country. The younger generation don’t get that.
“I’ve spoken to young family members of mine who live in seats where there are massive majorities for a party they don’t want to vote for. And their attitude is, why on earth, if it’s raining on Thursday evening, would I walk down to the local primary school?
“We’ve got to find a way where socialists in Esher (in Conservative Surrey) feel it’s worth going to vote.”
He also said that foreign aid should be spent on real crises like Nepal, saying that he would back doubling or trebling Britain’s “tiny” aid to the earthquake struck country which has historic ties to the British Army in particular. He said there was a big distinction between disaster relief and foreign aid, whose £12bn budget was ring-fenced by the coalition and which has drawn criticism from all sides over the projects supported and lack of accountability or follow up.