UK Politics

Nigel Farage: 2010 UKIP manifesto was 'drivel'

  • 24 January 2014
  • From the section UK Politics
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The UK Independence Party would not scrap Trident, Nigel Farage has said, describing the manifesto that contained the policy as "drivel".

He told LBC 97.3 radio the party had never advocated unilateral disarmament but was currently reviewing its policy.

In recent days, the UKIP leader has faced questions about pledges made in its 2010 general election manifesto.

David Campbell Bannerman, who drew up the 2010 document, said Mr Farage was "in terrible trouble over policies".

Mr Farage said the 2010 manifesto had been binned and the party was working on new policies to be unveiled later this year.

Mr Farage stepped down briefly before the last election to concentrate on winning a seat in Parliament and says he was not involved in drawing up the manifesto.

His successor, former Conservative peer Lord Pearson, appeared not to be familiar with much of the policy programme during the 2010 campaign.

'Professional footing'

Among other things, the manifesto called for taxi drivers to be required to wear uniforms, for British weights and measures to be "safeguarded" and for the burka to be banned in public buildings.

In a phone-in on the radio station, Mr Farage said he had already acknowledged that much of the manifesto was "nonsense" and UKIP had gone back to a "blank sheet of paper" in terms of its preparations for the next election in 2015.

He claimed the document was nothing more a collection of disparate policy papers.

Mr Farage is understood to have fallen out with the main author of the manifesto, David Campbell Bannerman - an MEP who has since rejoined the Conservative Party.

Mr Campbell Bannerman said in an interview to be broadcast on BBC Radio 4's The World Tonight: "I think Nigel is in terrible trouble over policies. He's never believed in them. He's on the ropes.

"We had 18 policy groups, very professional people. It was a very serious paper, but Nigel could not be bothered to read it, anything to do with policy. I'm afraid it's not good enough for someone who claims to be a serious political leader.

"You're dealing with someone who isn't bothered, isn't serious, is a bit of a joker, and it's not good enough. It's not a political party. It's a pressure group".

Mr Farage signed the foreword to the 2010 manifesto as the "chief party spokesman," along with Lord Pearson and Mr Campbell Bannerman.

It said "While withdrawal from the European Union superstate is central to UKIP's message, the party has a full range of policies that have helped it grow to become Britain's fourth largest political party."

Mr Farage also launched the manifesto at a press conference in Westminster, saying it was time for "straight talking" in British politics.

Explaining why he had now disowned the document, he told LBC: "Malcolm Pearson, who was leader at the time, was picked up in interviews for not knowing the manifesto.

"Of course he didn't - it was 486 pages of excessive detail. Eighteen months ago I said I want the whole lot taken down, we reject the whole thing...

"I didn't read it. It was drivel. It was 486 pages of drivel...It was a nonsense. We have put that behind us and moved onto a professional footing."

'Tight times'

But he said he was "really annoyed" by suggestions that UKIP, whose main policy remains taking Britain out of the EU, was not committed to Trident - the independent submarine-based ballistic missile weapons system which dates back to the 1960s.

He rejected suggestions that calls to scrap Trident had appeared at one stage on the party's official website.

Vanguard submarine carrying the Trident nuclear weapons system
UKIP says there is a case for reducing the number of nuclear submarines

"On a discussion forum, about a year ago, someone put up an idea, a policy proposal saying 'what if we scrapped Trident'.

"It has never been adopted or accepted as UKIP policy. It has never formally been put out there as UKIP policy."

'Slimmed-down'

UKIP's 2010 manifesto called for Trident to be retained and ultimately be replaced by "four British-built submarines armed with US missiles".

The policy is currently being reviewed and would set out it in detail during the summer, Mr Farage added.

"We have been thinking very hard what to do with Trident...but it will not involve scrapping Trident.

"I think there is an argument that, in tight times, we could go down from four to three submarines, but I think we need to maintain the independent nuclear deterrent."

The government has delayed a decision on the future of Trident until 2016 amid divisions between the two coalition partners.

The Conservatives back like-for-like renewal, but the Lib Dems want a "slimmed-down" version, with a maximum of three submarines.

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