Nigel Farage today hinted he could join a coalition with Cast Iron Dave to secure an In/Out referendum in 2017. He told The Sun (£) he would “put the interests of the country above the interests of UKIP”. This is a surprising twist in Farage’s strategy, which until now has been to eject David Cameron as Prime Minister in 2015.
This move is widely seen as an attempt to debunk the “Vote UKIP, Get Labour” argument. However, as Paul Goodman has pointed out in Conservative Home today, this seems a redundant policy because the accusation made no impact on UKIP’s popularity. The party’s supporters seem uninterested in who becomes Prime Minister as long as the pressure to leave the EU is maintained.
If UKIP are willing to work with Cameron to further the Eurosceptic cause, then why are they running candidates against Eurosceptic giants such as Bill Cash and John Redwood? Tory MP Michael Fabricant has shown that UKIP’s 3% of the vote in 2010 cost the Conservatives 20 seats. If in the general election IN 2015 UKIP poll anywhere near what they are polling on now, the Conservatives will lose far more.
Were a Conservative-UKIP Coalition to develop however, the parties would be at each other’s throats during the supposed ‘renegotiation’ which Farage has described as futile. Speaking to Andrew Marr last week, Cameron made it clear he doesn’t want to end open-door migration, which is Farage’s main issue with the EU.
Only in the last week EU Commission President Barroso made clear the EU will remain committed to ever closer union, so it is unlikely Cameron will receive any real concessions. This could lead to an interesting split in the Party, with Cameron inevitably campaigning to stay in, while conviction politicians join UKIP in campaigning to come out.
Who knows if there will be any co-operation between the Conservatives and UKIP. Get Britain Out campaigns for an early In/Out referendum. Only when we are Out of the EU can Britain concentrate on a growth concept with global trade throughout the world securing millions more jobs for Britain, and control over our laws and economy.
Luke Stanley, Research Assistant