UK Politics

UKIP parking its tanks on Labour's lawn - Farage

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Media captionNigel Farage: "We pose a threat not just to the Conservative party... but to the entire British political class"

Nigel Farage has issued a pre-election warning to Ed Miliband that UKIP is targeting voters in Labour's traditional heartlands.

Speaking at UKIP's annual conference in Doncaster, where the Labour leader is an MP, he said: "It's no coincidence that we're holding our conference here.

"We are now parking our tanks on the Labour Party's lawn."

He said the Eurosceptic party was "tearing vast chunks" out of the Labour vote in the north of England and Wales.

Labour responded by calling Mr Farage's party "more Tory than the Tories."

UKIP has been portrayed as more of a threat to the Conservatives than to Labour by the media, Mr Farage said.

"They [the mainstream media] would have you believe that we pose a mortal threat to David Cameron's Conservative Party," Mr Farage said.

"They're wrong. The reason the Conservative Party will not get a majority at the next general election has nothing to do with us - they've done the job themselves."

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Media captionNigel Farage tells the BBC: Immigration has made minimum wage "maximum wage"

'Sick and tired'

Mr Farage said his party "posed a threat to the entire British political class", not just the Conservatives as the "establishment believed".

Referring to two forthcoming by-elections, where UKIP candidates will challenge previously Conservative and Labour seats, Mr Farage said: "We've now got the Labour Party as worried in Heywood and Middleton as we've got the Conservatives in Clacton.

"This party is not about left and right - it's about right and wrong."

Mr Farage also told delegates he was "sick and tired" of hearing that a vote for UKIP would let Labour in.

"The message that needs to come out from this conference is that actually, in our target seats next year, in the by-elections and in the general election, if you vote UKIP you will get UKIP," he said.

"If we get this right, and if we win enough seats in that parliament in what is going to be a tight general election we could even say to people 'vote UKIP to hold the balance of power'." he added.


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by Ross Hawkins, BBC political correspondent

Nigel Farage sounded more like a man giving a stump speech than a conference season set piece.

That was no surprise.

There are two by-elections due within the fortnight.

He has downplayed UKIP's chances in the Heywood and Middleton by-election - previously a Labour constituency.

But he gave a pretty good idea of the tone of the UKIP campaign.

He alleged Labour policies were responsible for child abuse in the north of England.

UKIP has long held that it poses a threat to Ed Miliband as well as David Cameron.

The coming fight in Greater Manchester gives the party an opportunity to prove it, and Labour a chance to fight back.

UKIP unveiled a number of tax proposals on Friday, saying it would cut income tax from 40p to 35p for people earning up to £55,000, and promising to raise to £13,500 the amount people can earn before paying any income tax.

The party's plans included stripping the right of "billionaires from Russia and Arab countries like Saudi Arabia" to come to the UK for VAT-free shopping on designer goods such as shoes and handbags.

Mr Farage told journalists after his conference speech that Russian and Saudi billionaires "should not be able to buy up the West End and claim their tax back".

Some people thought Russian and Saudi visitors were "bringing benefit" to the UK, but really they were "coming here on the cheap", he said.

Asked how much he had paid for his shoes, Mr Farage hesitated before saying "£199" - just under the threshold were the new VAT rate would start.

Labour's shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, Michael Dugher, said: "The ex-banker, ex-Tory boy Farage is a politician trying to fool the public with weasel words - but working people will see through his act."


During the conference, UKIP immigration spokesman Steven Wolfe said the party wants to strip terrorists of their passports, and deny entry to asylum seekers without ID documents.

He called for separate immigration queues for UK citizens at border entry points.

He also wanted to boost the number of frontline border staff and search teams by 2,500.

The party added that it will give armed forces personnel who have served for a minimum of 12 years the option of joining the border force or the police when they leave military service.

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