General election 2015: Nigel Farage thanks Tony Blair for putting focus back on Europe

The Ukip leader joked that he might be making his own speech to thank the former PM in 30 days' time

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Indy Politics

Nigel Farage has thanked former Prime Minister Tony Blair for putting Britain's membership of the EU back at the heart of the general election campaign.

With just one month to go until the vote on the 7 May, Mr Blair's intervention supposedly to help get Ed Miliband in to Downing Street was welcomed with open arms by the Ukip leader.

Mr Farage admitted his party had "slipped back a bit" in the polls since the high of two by-election wins towards the end of 2014, but said that the renewed focus on Europe was "perhaps the most important national debate we could have over the next 30 days".

Responding to Mr Blair's criticism of Ukip policies, Mr Farage said: "We are exactly where we were last August, having won the European elections - we were on 14-and-a-bit per cent.

"We won the European elections, we found that level and we did have a rally in the Autumn through the remarkable events of first Clacton and then perhaps more remarkably the Rochester by-election

"We've slipped back a bit since then, there are 30 days to go and I think the issues Ukip is campaigning on are back in play.

"Mr Blair perhaps maybe in 30 days times, I'll make a speech and thank him."

The Ukip leader spoke to reporters during a visit to a mechanic in the West Midlands today, and in a speech reiterated Ukip's commitment to spend 2 per cent of GDP on defence.

He also hit back at David Cameron's appeal for Ukip voters to "come home" to the Conservative Party.

Mr Farage said the remarks "show how little Mr Cameron understands" and said Ukip had long established itself as a more than just a protest vote.

He added: "Come home to what? Wind turbines? Doubling the debt? Open-door immigration, and still a belief we should maintain our membership of the European Union?

"I don't think so, I think those Conservatives that have left have found a much more authentic home to live in."

Additional reporting by agencies