'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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • 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: Customer Service Executive

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

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?