'It's war': Nigel Farage flatly rejects call from senior Tory for Ukip and Conservative EU pact at the general election

Farage dismissed Conservative party vice-chairman's suggestion that Ukip should not contest the election in return for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union

Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party, today flatly rejected a call from a senior Conservative for an electoral pact with the Tories at the general election.

He dismissed the suggestion from Michael Fabricant, a Tory party vice-chairman, that Ukip should not contest the election – in return for a firm promise from David Cameron for a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

The dramatic proposal – in a discussion paper by Mr Fabricant for the Prime Minister – was disclosed by The Independent today. The Tory vice-chairman even floated the idea of the Ukip leader being offered a post in a Conservative administration.

In his paper, Mr Fabricant wrote: “It is time to consider actively whether a rapprochement might be possible before the 2015 general election.”

But in a blunt response, Mr Farage tweeted: “No pact with Tories: it's war.”

He added: “Fabricant deal seems to be based on buying me off. UKIP is bigger than that”.

He went on: “I'm in politics because of my beliefs not because I'm a career politician like so many these days.”

Downing Street also reacted coolly to Mr Fabricant’s idea. A source said: “He does not speak for the party on electoral strategy. We will be standing in every seat. There is no thinking about a pact.”

Mr Fabricant told The Independent yesterday: “This pact could yield an additional 20 to 40 seats, perhaps more, in 2015 if Ukip cooperates. The alternative, which both David Cameron and Ukip will have to consider, might mean a more pro-European Union Labour Government.”

Mr Fabricant also argued that the dramatic move would enable the Conservative party to heal the wounds over Europe that have bedevilled it since the 1980s.

His intervention carried extra weight as Mr Fabricant played a key role in the Tory by-election campaign this month in Corby, where Ukip came a strong third with more than 5,000 votes.

The party is also expected to poll strongly in this week’s by-election in Rotherham after a blaze of publicity over its local council’s decision to remove three children from foster parents because they were Ukip members.

Since stepping down as a government whip two months ago, Mr Fabricant has been responsible on behalf of Conservative headquarters for strategy for fighting by-elections and marginal seats at the next election.

His candid comments will dismay party chiefs who publicly attempt to play down the significance of the steady surge in support for Ukip, much of which comes from disillusioned former Tory voters.

The Prime Minister once claimed that Ukip members were mainly “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”, but Mr Fabricant argued the two parties are now in tune with each other – and the voters – on the issue of Europe.

He says the Conservatives are now “constructively Eurosceptic” and points out that Mr Cameron enjoyed a surge in public popularity when he adopted a tough stance in negotiations last year in Brussels.

He added that the Ukip leader, Nigel Farage, is a “former Thatcherite who sounds like a Conservative, who looks like a Conservative and in other circumstances probably would be a Conservative”.

Mr Fabricant even suggested the Ukip leader should even be given a job in a future Tory administration. He said: “If some sort of deal could be brokered, I think we would be mad not to use the undoubted talents of Nigel Farage in government.”

Under his proposal, Mr Cameron would announce an in-out referendum on membership of the EU which would be binding if more than 50 per cent of voters took part – a threshold Mr Fabricant argues would be comfortably cleared given the potential interest in the issue.

“Such an offer would not be a sign of weakness by the Conservative party. It would be a pragmatic extension of existing philosophy from a party of Government. Moreover, this could mark the final rapprochement between warring brothers.”

Mr Farage recently said he would not contemplate a pact with the Tories unless it was given an absolute promise “written in blood” to stage a “proper referendum” on Europe.

The size of the Ukip vote was bigger than the Labour or Liberal Democrat majority over the Tories in some 20 parliamentary seats at the last election. Although not all of its support would have been picked up from previous Tory voters, Mr Fabricant admits: “Ukip’s threat lies in their being a major contributory factor in denying the Conservatives a win in marginal seats.”

He said: “The polls demonstrate it is the Conservative party which takes the biggest hit by a Ukip surge rather than the Lib Dems of the Labour Party.”

Mr Fabricant says the party had picked up an “anti-politics vote” as it became “more and more effective at its messaging, employing simple, effective explanations of their policies” and “tapping into frustration with career politicians”.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing