'Patriotic' Nigel Farage slams 'irresponsible' immigration policy ahead of European elections

 

Deputy Political Editor

Wide parts of Britain have changed out of recognition because the country has surrendered control of its borders, Nigel Farage claimed as he put immigration at the forefront of the UK Independence Party’s European election campaign.

He predicted the party was on course for the “biggest political shock” for years by beating Labour and the Tories to win the largest number of votes at the contests on May 22.

Mr Farage also told activists at the Ukip spring conference that it was well placed to build a base in local government by picking up hundreds of seats in council elections on the same day.

But the conference launch was undermined by the disclosure that its new slogan “Love Britain” had previously been used by the BNP. A spokesman insisted Ukip was “reclaiming” the words from the far-Right party.

In his keynote address in Torquay, Mr Farage seized on figures this week showing a surge in net migration – mainly fuelled by the arrival of European Union workers – as evidence that Britain’s frontiers were under unprecedented pressure.

In provocative remarks, he argued that communities across the country had irreparably altered as a result of mass immigration and were not fit to pass on to future generations.

“In scores of our cities and market towns, this country in a short space of time has frankly become unrecognisable.

“Whether it is the impact on local schools and hospitals, whether it is the fact in many parts of England you don’t hear English spoken any more.

“This is not the kind of community we want to leave to our children and grandchildren.”

He argued: “Eighty per cent of us in this country believe open door immigration is irresponsible, against the interests of the people in this country and that it must stop.”

Mr Farage claimed Britain now had a “totally distorted labour market because of the massive oversupply that has come to us from eastern Europe”. And he added: “It is ordinary folk, it is ordinary families that are paying the financial price.”

The Ukip leader was speaking after a year in which the party has achieved a series of strong by-election performances, consistently outscored the Liberal Democrats in opinion polls and picked up nearly 150 local council seats.

He told the conference that the party represented the biggest threat to the political mainstream for a generation.

He added: “Our ruling classes have lost confidence in this country and that is why they have sold us out and it has cost us money, it has cost us influence and it has cost us self-respect.”

Mr Farage insisted it was possible for several Ukip MPs to be elected at next year’s general election, but urged his party to focus first on the European elections.

To laughter from activists, he mocked the idea his party was a “splinter group” of the Conservatives and that the typical supporter was a “retired half-colonel living on the edge of Salisbury Plain”.

He said: “One fifth of our voters are people who would be described as non-voters, people who haven’t voted for 20 years, in some cases people who have never voted in their lives and they are going out and voting Ukip.

"I think we should be very proud of the fact we are re-engaging people back in British democracy, I really do."

He also launched a staunch defence of his candidates and joked about the councillor who claimed gay marriage caused the flooding crisis.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Attenborough with the primates
tvWhy BBC producers didn't want to broadcast Sir David Attenborough's famed Rwandan encounter
News
Campbell: ‘Sometimes you have to be economical with the truth’
newsFormer spin doctor says MPs should study tactics of leading sports figures like José Mourinho
Sport
football
Life and Style
Agretti is often compared to its relative, samphire, though is closer in taste to spinach
food + drink
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
News
Kelly Osbourne will play a flight attendant in Sharknado 2
people
News
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
people
News
The dress can be seen in different colours
i100
Sport
Wes Brown is sent-off
football
Voices
Lance Corporal Joshua Leakey VC
voicesBeware of imitations, but the words of the soldier awarded the Victoria Cross were the real thing, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
Alexander McQueen's AW 2009/10 collection during Paris Fashion Week
fashionMeet the collaborators who helped create the late designer’s notorious spectacles
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

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?
HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?