UK Politics

UKIP referendum campaign to reach 'real people'

Nigel Farage speaks during the UKIP referendum campaign launch at the Emmanuel Centre on 4 September 2015 in London, England. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nigel Farage launched the UKIP referendum campaign in London

UKIP's campaign for Britain to leave the EU will "get outside the confines of Westminster" and "reach real people", its leader has said.

Nigel Farage said 300 public meetings had already been planned in "village halls, working men's clubs and arenas".

Speaking at the launch of UKIP's referendum campaign, he said he would welcome a Jeremy Corbyn victory in the Labour leadership contest.

He said the political left was "waking up to what the EU is".

The in/out referendum on the UK's EU membership will take place by 2017.

'Work with anybody'

Mr Farage said he was planning to go "on tour" around the country from now until the referendum.

He said 12 regional co-ordinators had been appointed and party activists would be doing the "old-fashioned thing of putting leaflets through doors".

UKIP's campaign will be separate from the two existing groups vying for designation as official leaders of the leave campaign.

But Mr Farage said he would "work with anybody".

"We will share a platform with anybody. We will do whatever it takes," he said.

"We want our country back. We do not want to stay members of the European Union. We recognise that we won't win this referendum unless we get significant numbers from the centre left of politics to vote to leave the EU as well."

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mr Farage said a Jeremy Corbyn win in the Labour leadership election would be a "good result"

Mr Farage said that while he did not agree with Mr Corbyn on "almost everything", a win for the veteran left-winger would ensure a "proper debate about the European Union".

"I think the left of British politics is waking up to what the EU is," he said. "They have seen Greece trampled upon, they see a transatlantic trade treaty which they are worried could threaten the viability of the NHS."

While there was "genuine concern" that Britain was "shovelling £55m a day into a club whose accounts had not been signed off", he said, immigration was likely to be the dominant issue during the campaign.

He also said the immigration debate was currently focused on the migrant crisis in Europe and he accused Germany in particular of giving "huge incentives for people to come to the European Union by whatever means".

"The EU has got this wrong. Anybody that comes, from whatever background and virtually for whatever reason, can claim to be a refugee," he said.

"If the European Union wants to help genuine refugees, they need to establish offshore centres and process people correctly, rather than inviting what has now turned into a headlong rush."

Meanwhile, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced that the UK will take "thousands more" refugees from camps on the borders of war-torn Syria, as well as providing an additional £100m in aid for those fleeing the conflict.

More on this story