One of the country's wealthiest businessmen has announced a multi-million pound boost to the UK Independence Party.
Paul Sykes has promised to do “whatever it takes” to help the party top the polls in the European elections next May, according to the Daily Telegraph.
In doing so, the self-made tycoon - a son of a miner and veteran of the campaign to keep the pound 15 years ago - will have dealt a big blow to the Conservatives.
Mr Sykes supported the Tories under Margaret Thatcher and Michael Howard, but has now told the Telegraph he wants to finance Ukip's efforts to pull Britain out of the EU.
He said: “It is time to tell the truth and let the people decide … I want this country to get back to becoming a self-governing nation. That is what I am in it for. I am not going to sit here and do nothing. It’s my final thing this, it’s my Waterloo.”
Nigel Farage’s party currently has 13 seats in the European Parliament after winning around 16.5 per cent of the vote in 2009, pushing Labour into third place. Pollsters believe Ukip would need to secure about 27 per cent in the elections expected on May 22 to overtake the Tories as the largest UK party in the European Parliament.