Nigel Farage has rejected calls for Ukip to form an election pact with the Conservative party, and said the party will be "targeting everybody in this campaign."
David Cameron is under increased pressure from Conservative backbenchers to strike a deal with Farage following Ukip’s milestone victory in the Clacton by-election where Tory defector Douglas Carswell became the party’s first elected MP.
Talking to Sky News, Farage said: "If I was to call a silence and ask our activist here now whether they wanted a pre-election pact with the Conservatives I think I would need to be bundled into that room for my own safety.
"This party is not a splinter of the Conservative party. This party is its own organic force.
"We want to win our own representation in Westminster and we believe only by doing that can we fundamentally change British politics.
In response to David Cameron’s claim that if you vote for Farage, you’ll end up with Ed Miliband, he said: "What we saw in Clacton was very clear. The people voted Ukip and they got Ukip."
Who's next? Conservative MPs who could defect to Ukip
Who's next? Conservative MPs who could defect to Ukip
1/8 Chris Kelly
Won Dudley South with majority of 3,856 in 2010 but is standing down next May. Has been wooed by Ukip, which is targeting his seat, but insists he will not join Nigel Farage’s party. Has declined to say why he is leaving Parliament
2/8 Mark Pritchard
Former secretary of the influential Tory 1992 Committee. MP for The Wrekin. Majority 9,450. Photographed with Nigel Farage at an event recently but said it was just a “friendly photo"
3/8 Philip Hollobone
MP for Kettering. Majority 9, 904. He said in 2013: “So many constituencies are now marginal because Ukip is now providing a fourth dynamic into what has previously been a three-party dynamic. I think we could end up with a situation where in selected seats, where the Conservative candidate or member of Parliament is in favour of leaving the EU, they would endorse him in those seats"
4/8 David Nuttall
MP for Bury North. Majority 2,243. Outspoken right-winger. Has said it would be “beneficial” if the Tories and Ukip could agree a “common programme” in order to unite the right in British politics
5/8 Nadine Dorries
MP for Mid Bedfordshire. Majority 15,152. Lost Tory whip after appearing on ITV’s “I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here,” but later reinstated. Has said her constituents some constituents feel a "huge amount of empathy with Ukip". Hinted at standing on a joint ticket but denied she will defect
6/8 Jacob Rees-Mogg
MP for Somerset North East. Majority 4,914. Independent-minded like Douglas Carswell. Has called for an electoral pact between Tories and Ukip. “There are many members of Ukip who are very close to the Conservative Party and there are many Conservatives to whom Ukip looks favourably,” he said in May
7/8 Gordon Henderson
MP for Sittingbourne and Sheppey. Majority 12,383. Wants Britain to leave the EU and admits he has been “sounded out” by Ukip. But insists the party has “no principles,” saying: “I’d sooner lose than be a turncoat”
8/8 Peter Bone
MP for Wellingborough. Majority 11,787. Independent-minded backbencher who hates the Coalition. Has said: “Somehow the Conservatives and Ukip have got to work together and have some sort of [electoral] pact or accord”
Fresh from his by-election victory, Douglas Carswell backed Farage: "I argued for a pact when I was a Conservative member of parliament, I have a lot of sympathy for people in the Conservative Party, many of whom are my friends, who want that.
"But I comprehensively lost the argument and I'm not about to start arguing with my new friends in my new party, these decisions are decisions that need to be made by Nigel.
"There is something a little bit iffy about the idea of pacts, because it suggests politicians fixing things for their convenience. Why don't we be frank and honest, let the voters decide, let the voters make up their mind and abide by their verdict."
Both were campaigning for Mark Reckless, another former Conservative MP now aligned with Ukip, in Rochester in Strood, where the next big by-election will be held.
At a rally, Carswell said the main Westminster parties had run a "highly personal, aggressive smear campaign" against Mr Reckless since he announced his defection.
He told supporters: "The aggressive smear attacks on Mark tell us more about the values of those who run the big corporate parties in Westminster than they do about this decent, honourable, patriotic, diligent candidate in this contest."
Among those calling for a Ukip-Conservative pact are Tory MPs Jacob Rees-Mogg and Peter Bone.
Mogg told the Times: "We should think about what that means in terms of the Ukip-Conservative relationship because the Conservative family could win a majority on that basis.
"Otherwise, the only thing we manage is mutually assured destruction."
Bone supported that idea: "In seats where it is difficult for us to win, maybe let Ukip run in that seat - being endorsed by the Conservatives."
John Baron, Conservative MP for Basildon and Billericay, last night refused to rule out following his former Eurosceptic colleagues by jumping ship.
He told BBC2's Newsnight: "You should never say never in politics but the bottom line is my very strong preference is to stay within the Conservative party."
Carswell praised Baron but said any decision to defect was "intensely personal".
He said: "I can't speak for John. I know John and he is a good man, a decent man who shares my values, but these are intensely personal decisions.”
(Additional reporting from PA)Reuse content