European elections 2014: David Cameron to use Ukip victory as warning for Brussels over lack of reform

 

David Cameron will use talks in Brussels on Tuesday night to point to the success of nationalist parties across the continent as evidence of huge and growing support for fundamental reform of the European Union.

He is preparing to use the surge of votes for the UK Independence Party as a key argument in his attempt to wrest powers back from Brussels to London.

Senior Conservatives were relieved that their worst fears of a collapse in votes were not realised and that they almost beat Labour in the battle for second place in the Euro-elections.

The Prime Minister pointed to “deep disillusionment” in Britain with the European Union in its current form as the explanation for Ukip topping the poll. He said: “That message, as far as I’m concerned, is absolutely received and understood.”

The election results from the 28-state bloc will be discussed by EU leaders at an informal dinner in Brussels tonight.

 

Mr Cameron made phone calls to several of them on Monday, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, in his continuing efforts to win allies for reform.

Downing Street said he had argued that the leaders “should seize the opportunity of tomorrow's dinner to heed the views expressed at the ballot box that the EU needs to change and to show it cannot be business as usual”.

It added: “The turnout and results in the European Parliament elections have underlined the need for reform to ensure that the EU is doing more to deliver what voters care about – jobs, growth and a better future.”

Mr Cameron launched his most barbed attack on the Ukip leader on Monday, pouring scorn on Nigel Farage’s “normal bloke down the pub” image. The Prime Minister described him  as a “consummate politician” with large expenses claims and his wife on his taxpayer-funded payroll.

He dismissed suggestions that Eurosceptic Tories could forge local pacts with Ukip candidates at next year’s elections.

“I don't see any prospect of this happening,” Mr Cameron told the BBC. “From what I read … Nigel Farage wants to destroy the Conservative Party, not work in tandem with it. I think there's a great myth that there's somehow some great pact or deal to be done.”

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