Nigel Farage calls for Ukip unity as he declares: 'We want our country back'

Farage tells fellow Ukip members to put 'country before party' during the EU referendum campaign

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Nigel Farage has told Ukip to put "country before party" and dedicate itself to its core goal of securing Britain's exit from the European Union.

The Ukip leader sent a clear message to his party's supporters and all those in favour of leaving the EU to unite for the EU referendum campaign, declaring: "We want our country back".

Delivering his keynote speech at Ukip's party conference in Doncaster, Mr Farage told activists they must grasp the once in a lifetime opportunity to secure a Brexit - a goal that he said was "dearer to my heart" even than Ukip.

He said the EU referendum could be won by offering a "big strong, positive message," hailing the decision by the Electoral Commission to force David Cameron to change the initial Yes/No question after the elections watchdog ruled it was too biased.

Nigel Farage Doncaster 4.jpg
Nigel Farage delivers his keynote speech at the Ukip party conference in Doncaster

Mr Farage threw his support behind the new umbrella group campaigning for an Out vote, called, bankrolled by Ukip donor Arron Banks.

"I have to say to you, as the leader of this party, as somebody who has given over 20 years of his life to helping build this party, while of course I want us to do well as a party and succeed in those elections there is something that is actually dearer to my heart than party politics, even if it's Ukip," he told Ukip activists.

He mocked EU enthusiasts such as Sir Richard Branson, Tony Blair and Lord Mandelson who will be supporting the In campaign, while describing Tories such as David Cameron as "piggy in the middle" - a reference to claims he "inserted a private part of his anatomy" into a dead pig's mouth during an initiation ceremony at Oxford University. will take over from its previous name, The Know, and will merge with other groups campaigning for an Out vote, such as the Bruges Group, Global Britain and Get Britain Out.

Meanwhile it was reported that Lynton Crosby's firm was offered £2m to work for the campaign.

The Australian election strategist was seen as the mastermind behind the Conservative party's unexpected general election victory and also oversaw Boris Johnson's two London Mayoral elections.

Lynton Crosby's firm was reportedly offered £2m by the campaign


Mr Crosby's firm, CTF Partners, turned down the offer after a two-week period, according to the BBC.

Mr Farage, speaking at Ukip's annual conference on Friday, said: "I want us to summon every resource of energy that we can find in our bodies and our minds, I want us to dedicate ourselves wholly to winning that referendum."

"This is the moment to put country before party. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to get back the independence and self-government of this nation.

"Our message is clear, we want our country back," he added.

Eurosceptics were given a boost from a poll by Business for Britain that showed three in four small business owners wanted the UK to be able to negotiate its own trade deals, while just a quarter supported the EU single market.

However another business-related poll by the British Chambers of Commerce delivered contrasting news. Two thirds of business people it surveyed said they would vote to remain in the EU, with just 27 per cent saying they wanted to leave.