European parliament elections 2014: Nigel Farage shrugs off racism claims as Ukip prepares for unprecedented triumph

Latest polls put Ukip first – and Lib Dems a distant fifth

Nigel Farage shrugged off allegations that Ukip was a racist party as he prepared for an unprecedented triumph in the European elections.

Voting booths opened at 7am for the European Parliament contest to return 73 Euro MPs, with more than 4,000 council seats at 161 English local authorities and those in Northern Ireland are also up for election.

A poll by YouGov for The Sun has projected that Ukip is poised to win the European elections with 27% of the vote, with the Lib Dems back in fifth place.

Before casting his ballots at Cudham C of E Primary School in Westerham, Kent, the Ukip leader told reporters: “If we get what we like things will never be quite the same again.”

"The allegations of the political establishment are against us. Twenty minutes ago the immigration figures were out - 526,000 people settled in this country last year. It's just impossible. We cannot go on with numbers like that.”

Mr Farage, who has faced controversy over his party's claim that Romanian gangs were responsible for 7% of crime in the EU, denied Ukip was racist, saying: “I have never heard such rot in all my life. We have got standing for us in these local elections, I bet you, a broader array of people from global nationalities than any other party.”

 

A Ukip victory would signify a significant blow for Labour, the Conservatives and, particularly, the Liberal Democrats, where party insiders are bracing themselves to lose all of their 11 European seats, according to a document leaked by The Guardian.

Bookmakers predict the Conservatives could be pushed into third place, with Ladbrokes reporting punters are backing Ukip to pick up the most votes in the Euro poll ahead of Labour.

Victory for Ukip would provide David Cameron with a challenging 12 months in Downing Street as he seeks to appeal to the nation and keep the Eurosceptic wing of the Conservative Party content on issues including immigration.

Nick Clegg is preparing for a disastrous performance in the elections Nick Clegg is preparing for a disastrous performance in the elections Mr Cameron’s target of bringing net migration below 100,000 by the general election in 2015 is looking even more distant following the release of official figures by the Office for National Statistics today, which revealed that more than 200,000 people moved to Britain from the European Union last year, up 22 per cent on 2012.

There has also been a dramatic increase in the number of Eastern Europeans registering for National Insurance numbers, a sign that more are finding legal work and paying taxes. The most significant rise was amongst Romanian workers, with 47,000 registering in the year to March 2014, more than double the previous year.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Belong: Volunteer Mentor for Offenders

This is a volunteer role with paid expenses : Belong: Seeking volunteers who c...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Apprentice Telesales & Marketing Opportunities

£10400 - £14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests