Millionaire donor Paul Sykes gives Ukip £1.5m in bid to win 100 seats in parliament

Paul Sykes is a self-made millionaire who left the Conservative Party in 1991

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Indy Politics

Ukip's biggest donor has pledged a further £1.5 million to Nigel Farage's party as it looks to target 100 seats at next year's general election.

Businessman Paul Sykes, whose wealth was estimated at £650 million in 2004, has indicated that he will hand over the sum to fund the growth of the party's power in Parliament.

Nigel Farage had suggested that Ukip would target its resources on a few dozen constituencies that they could potentially win, while Mr Sykes has his sights set on around 100 seats.

Mr Sykes, a former Tory supporter who started his fortune in dealing scrap engines, told the Sunday Times: "You're going to be able to see this campaign from the moon.

"Ukip is not going to lose the campaign because we don't have enough adverts."

Nearly a third of the public would vote for the eurosceptic right-wing party headed by Nigel Farage if they believed it would win in their area, a poll by Opinium with The Observer found.

Another recent poll found the party is on track for victory in the Rochester & Strood by-election on 20 November, triggered by the defection of Mark Reckless from the Conservative party.

Douglas Carswell, Mr Reckless' fellow defector, retained his seat in Clacton earlier this month and became the first Ukip MP in parliament.

Mr Sykes believes Ukip gaining 24 out of the UK's 73 seats in European Parliament last May is a sign of future success in Westminster.

David Cameron has attempted to tackle the Ukip threat by promising to crack down on immigration by negotiating reforms to the free movement of workers in the European Union.

But former Home Office minister Damian Green warned the Tories would hemorrhage voters in other parts of the political spectrum if they turned themselves into "Ukip-lite".

He told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show: "Whatever happens my advice would be the same: that it would be a complete disaster for the Tory party to become Ukip-lite or to do a pact with Ukip."

The economy, education and lower levels of recorded crime should be the topics the Tories should focus on, added Mr Green.

Labour leader Ed Miliband also said that the UK "needs stronger controls on people coming here" and, like Mr Cameron, called for a reform of the EU's freedom of movement rules.

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