UK & World News
Nigel Farage: UKIP Can Win European Elections
Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, has launched an attack on those who claim he is running a party of "fruitcakes".
He told his members in Torquay they were a party to be reckoned with.
Mr Farage said that the recent floods and rising immigration had created the picture of a country that could not govern itself effectively.
The UKIP leader was speaking at the party's spring conference - ahead of European and local elections in May - at which he insisted "together we can get our country back".
He told delegates they could win the European elections and if that they successfully "jumped that hurdle" they could win seats in the next General Election.
Mr Farage claimed the party represented the biggest threat to the political establishment in modern times.
He said: "The opinion polls show 61% of UKIP voters vote for us because they believe in our policies - not just on the European question but on the broader range of domestic issues as well."
Mr Farage said immigration was "the number one issue in British politics".
Pressed on the issue by Sky News, he said: "Immigration is more important than economic recovery".
He also played down the fact that his new slogan "Love Britain, Vote UKIP" replicated an old BNP slogan.
"Its ours now and I'm going to use it every day in the run up to the European elections" he said.
The UKIP leader also mocked the idea his party was a "splinter group" of the Conservatives.
He told the conference: "The truth of it is the growth in support since 2010 has come from across the political spectrum.
"One fifth of our voters are people who would be described as non-voters, people who haven't voted for 20 years, in some cases people who have never voted in their lives and they are going out and voting UKIP.
"I think we should be very proud of the fact we are re-engaging people back in British democracy, I really do."
Mr Farage also defended his candidates and joked about the councillor who claimed gay marriage caused the flooding crisis.
He said he was proud to lead a party where people were not always politically correct.
"Any comment that is slightly eccentric made by any member of our volunteer party is very quickly turned into a national news scandal," he said.
"There was the issue of the councillor, from Oxfordshire. When he was a Conservative councillor and saying the same thing, it wasn't a news story. But he defects to UKIP and suddenly it is a major national scandal."
Outside the conference centre, Liberal Democrat Activists wore Nigel Farage face masks and handed out mock P45 leaflets warning Britain would lose jobs outside the EU.
When Mr Farage arrived at the conference he was offered a slice of fruitcake by a UKIP supporter from a tray with a sign on it saying: "The only fruitcake here is on this tray".
"'I've no objection to a bit of fruitcake," said Mr Farage as he ate a slice.
"I haven't got a problem them thinking I'm a fruitcake. They can abuse us as much as they like and the more they do, the more people vote for us."
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