Nigel Farage says he is 'proud' to have secured former BNP supporters

The Ukip leader said his party provided an alternative to 'frustrated' voters

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has said he is “proud” that his party have claimed a third of all British National party voters.

Mr Farage said his anti-EU party had provided “frustrated” people with a more suitable alternative to the far-right BNP.

Speaking at an event at London’s Chatham House on Monday, he also said that Ukip will now focus its energies on Labour strongholds in the run-up to May’s local and European elections – because Tory supporters had already been won over.

And Mr Farage denied taking “extremist” positions on immigration, pointing out that former BNP members had been banned from joining his party.

“We want no truck with the BNP types at all,” he said.

“What we did, starting with the Oldham by-election in the North of England is for the first time ever try to deal with the BNP question by going out and saying to BNP voters, if you are voting BNP because you are frustrated, upset with the change in your community, but you are doing it holding your nose because you don't agree with their racist agenda, come and vote for us.

"I would think that we have probably taken a third of the BNP vote directly from them.

“I do not think anyone's done more... to damage the BNP than Ukip, and I am quite proud of that.”

Support for the BNP has been dwindling since its height in 2009, when the party secured 940,000 votes in the European elections.

Mr Farage conceded that it could be a matter of “luck” whether Ukip won a Westminster seat next year, but he said he was confident about the party’s performance in May.

“We are going to be spending the bulk of our money in the next eight weeks in the big Midlands and Northern cities, targeting the Labour vote,” he said.

“I think that Conservatives who are going to vote for Ukip, or even lend their vote to Ukip, on 22 May who live in Dorset have made their minds up already."

His comments came as Labour Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls warned that Britain would be reckless to walk away from the European Union and that an exit would have a detrimental impact on jobs and investment.

Conservative Prime Minster David Cameron has promised an in/out referendum by 2017 if his party wins next year’s election.

The promise of a referendum is likely to appeal to Eurosceptic voters who might otherwise defect to Ukip.

Additional reporting by agencies

Read more: Nigel Farage's favourite world leader is Putin
It's not exactly a shock that Farage's pin-up is Putin
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
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
A bartender serves beers
news
Arts and Entertainment
Daniel Craig and Rory Kinnear film Spectre in London
film
Life and Style
The finale at Dolce and Gabbana autumn/winter 2015
fashion
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: Bookkeeper / Office Co-ordinator

£9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This role is based within a small family run ...

Recruitment Genius: Designer - Print & Digital

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Design and marketing agenc...

Recruitment Genius: Quantity Surveyor

£46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This property investment firm are lookin...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

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
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
Barbara Woodward: Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with the growing economic superpower

Our woman in Beijing builds a new relationship

Britain's first female ambassador to China intends to forge strong links with growing economic power
Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer. But the only British soldier to be awarded the Victoria Cross in Afghanistan has both

Courage is rare. True humility is even rarer

Beware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Alexander McQueen: The catwalk was a stage for the designer's astonishing and troubling vision

Alexander McQueen's astonishing vision

Ahead of a major retrospective, Alexander Fury talks to the collaborators who helped create the late designer's notorious spectacle
New BBC series savours half a century of food in Britain, from Vesta curries to nouvelle cuisine

Dinner through the decades

A new BBC series challenged Brandon Robshaw and his family to eat their way from the 1950s to the 1990s
Philippa Perry interview: The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course

Philippa Perry interview

The psychotherapist on McDonald's, fancy specs and meeting Grayson Perry on an evening course
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef recreates the exoticism of the Indonesian stir-fry

Bill Granger's Indonesian stir-fry recipes

Our chef was inspired by the south-east Asian cuisine he encountered as a teenager
Chelsea vs Tottenham: Harry Kane was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope

Harry Kane interview

The striker was at Wembley to see Spurs beat the Blues and win the Capital One Cup - now he's their great hope
The Last Word: For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?

Michael Calvin's Last Word

For the good of the game: why on earth don’t we leave Fifa?