Come back, PM urges UKIP ex-Tories
- 8 May 2014
- From the section UK Politics
The prime minister has made a direct appeal to UKIP voters, telling them he shares their frustrations but warning Britain needs the "politics of the answer rather than the politics of anger".
Speaking two weeks before Britain votes in elections for the European Parliament, David Cameron's remarks are his first direct attempt to encourage UKIP supporters to return to the Tory fold after years of first insulting the party - as "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists" - and then ignoring them.
In an exclusive interview for BBC News, Mr Cameron said he understood voters' concerns.
"My argument is not 'You're wrong to express these concerns. You're wrong to be frustrated.' My argument is 'You're right to be frustrated,'" he said.
"I share that frustration and we have the answer to deal with those frustrations."
He warned that Nigel Farage and UKIP presented a "totally unrealistic, pessimistic vision about what this country can achieve", with its policies on immigration and withdrawal from the European Union.
"My appeal to people is 'Actually vote for a party that can deliver that can get things done,'" he said.
"'I understand the things that you find frustrating, the things that you care about. We are delivering. Don't waste your vote on a party that can't deliver.
"'It (UKIP) may come up with phrases or expressions that attract you on some of these issues but they can't actually deliver the answers.'"
The prime minister also defended his plan for a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union in 2017 and insisted that it would not guarantee that another government led by him would be "obsessed by Europe divided and distracted from the concerns of ordinary people".
He claimed that business backed his plan to re-negotiate Britain's relationship with Europe and then put that to the people.
Mr Cameron said that over the next three years the country had three fundamental choices to make - whether to break up the UK, back his long-term economic plan and stay in a reformed EU.
He said he hoped to convince people to back his plan for the UK but he knew he might be packing his bags and moving out of Number 10 next year.
"I understand that the people are the boss at the end of those 364 days... It's called democracy. It can be painful but it's a very good thing."