Nigel Farage opens door to Ukip pact with Conservatives - but only if David Cameron is ousted as leader

The party leader also confirmed he will stand in the 2015 general election

Nigel Farage has opened the door to an electoral pact between his UK Independence Party and the Conservatives – but said that Tory MPs would have to oust David Cameron as their leader first.

Some Tory MPs, worried about Ukip's strong performance in last week's local elections, called for a deal between the two parties at the 2015 general election.

It could see Ukip stand aside in seats being fought by Eurosceptic Tories who pledged to vote to leave the EU in the referendum Mr Cameron has promised by 2017.

The Tory leadership dismissed the idea of a pact and there is no sign of a move by Tory MPs to trigger a vote of confidence in Mr Cameron's leadership. However, that could happen if the party panicked after next year's European Parliament elections, when Ukip is expected to come first.

Mr Farage told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show it was "not impossible" that Mr Cameron would be ousted before the general election.

"If he was removed and somebody else was put in place and wanted to come and talk to us and say 'shall we find an accommodation?' we'd consider it, but it is not my priority," said Mr Farage,

Calls for a 2015 pact may grow if Conservative and Ukip councillors form "local coalitions" after last week's elections to keep Labour and the Liberal Democrats out of power in authorities where no party is in overall control.

Peter Bone, a Eurosceptic Tory MP, said Ukip's success made the case for an alliance between the two parties that would see them fielding a joint candidate. "There was a tremendous Conservative vote. There were the conservatives that voted Conservative and the conservatives who voted Ukip. The trick is to get us all together again and that's what we've got to do," he told Sky News.

Mr Cameron is under mounting pressure from Conservative MPs to harden his referendum pledge. Tory ministers may support a backbench Bill to guarantee the public a vote on Europe by 2017. A government Bill will not be included in the Queen's Speech on Wednesday because the Lib Dems will not allow it.

But a Tory MP is expected to bring in a Private Member's Bill and Mr Cameron could back that as a way of putting pressure on Labour and the Lib Dems, who both oppose a referendum.

William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, said yesterday that the Conservatives "will be considering the options" on a referendum. They include two referendums – one before the 2015 election to give Mr Cameron a mandate as he negotiates a "new settlement" with the EU—and another by 2017 on whether to stay in or leave the Union.

David Davis, the former Europe Minister, is leading calls by 20 Tory MPs for a "mandate referendum".

Although the Lib Dems and Labour could block the move, Mr Davis said: "It would be very interesting for the Liberals – and indeed the Labour Party – to vote against giving the public a say on this matter. I think the politics of that for them are very difficult."

Grant Shapps, the Tory chairman, said his party would publish a draft referendum Bill before the 2015 election.

" Of course, we may challenge other parties to support it. If we can get people to support it, then it can come before the Parliament," he said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Technical Support Specialist - Document Management

£30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A leading provider of document ...

Recruitment Genius: Legal Secretary

£17000 - £17800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to work ...

Recruitment Genius: Ad Ops Manager - Up to £55K + great benefits

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is a digital speci...

The Green Recruitment Company: Operations Manager - Anaerobic Digestion / Biogas

£40000 - £45000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Operation...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent