‘Lend us your votes’: Ukip's Nigel Farage steals in to Conservative Party Conference to lure Tory support

 

Nigel Farage will on Monday urge the Tory faithful to “lend us your votes” in next year’s European elections as he makes a scene-stealing series of appearances at the Conservative conference.

The UK Independence Party leader, who will speak at three events on the conference fringe, will repeat his forecast that his buoyant party is set to win the popular vote in next year’s elections to the European Parliament.

Mr Farage told The Independent he was not travelling to Manchester to win over permanent converts to his party but to appeal to Conservatives to switch allegiance temporarily.

“I’m speaking to the hardcore Tory faithful – they are still members of that pretty depleted party. Basically it’s a ‘Lend us your votes’ message.

“Conservatives who believe in an independent Britain should forget their normal loyalty to party and use the opportunity of the European elections to vote Ukip.”

Mr Farage argued that the surge in support for his party had forced Mr Cameron to drop his previous opposition to a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union and that a strong showing for Ukip next year would send “reverberations” through Brussels.

Ukip officials claim that Mr Cameron has given up on the European contests in eight months’ time and will concentrate the Tories’ electoral firepower on the 2015 general election.

Mr Farage’s day-long visit to the Manchester conference has caused dismay among organisers who have sought to minimise publicity for his tour of the fringe.

They removed a listing from the conference handbook advertising an appearance by Mr Farage at a debate staged by the Bruges Group, whose honorary president was Baroness Thatcher.

The former Tory chairman Lord Tebbit, who succeeded Lady Thatcher as the group’s president, accused the party of “a lot of over-reaction”. He said: “It is not unusual to have people who are not members of the party at a conference. Farage’s views on Europe are similar to those of most people in the Bruges Group.”

Asked what Lady Thatcher would have made of the move to censor publicity about the meeting, he replied: “Farage would not have existed if Margaret Thatcher were still leader.”

Mr Farage will also speak at meetings organised by the right-wing Freedom Association and by Forest, the smokers’ rights group.

Although the Tory leadership continues to rebuff the idea of an electoral pact with Ukip, a BBC survey found one Tory councillor in five supports the move to avoid splitting the right-of-centre vote. The move has been supported by prominent Conservative MPs including Michael Fabricant, Jacob Rees-Mogg and Peter Bone.

But William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said on Sunday: “We don’t make electoral pacts with other parties. We do make pacts with the voters of other parties and win over the voters of other parties.”

Mr Cameron said: “We have lost support to Ukip and we need to win that back.”

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
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: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Developer - London - £45k

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: PeopleSoft Application Support & Development ...

Ashdown Group: PHP Developer - Buckinghamshire - £29,000

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Junior PHP Developer - Milton Keynes...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales & Marketing Assistant

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This UK based B2C and B2B multi...

Day In a Page

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

Yvette Cooper: We can't lose the election. There's too much on the line

The shadow Home Secretary on fighting radical Islam, protecting children, and why anyone in Labour who's thinking beyond May must 'sort themselves out'
A bad week for the Greens: Leader Natalie Bennett's 'car crash' radio interview is followed by Brighton council's failure to set a budget due to infighting

It's not easy being Green

After a bad week in which its leader had a public meltdown and its only city council couldn't agree on a budget vote, what next for the alternative party? It's over to Caroline Lucas to find out
Gorillas nearly missed: BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter

Gorillas nearly missed

BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
Downton Abbey effect sees impoverished Italian nobles inspired to open their doors to paying guests for up to €650 a night

The Downton Abbey effect

Impoverished Italian nobles are opening their doors to paying guests, inspired by the TV drama
China's wild panda numbers have increased by 17% since 2003, new census reveals

China's wild panda numbers on the up

New census reveals 17% since 2003