Ukip’s policies range "from the barmy to the dangerous" and their election to power would be a “disaster” for Britain, Lib Dem minister Vince Cable has said.
Writing for the Western Morning News, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has warned against apathy in the European elections, arguing “Ukip present themselves as the outsiders in British politics, fighting to represent the common working man.
“However, their policies reveal they actually represent an ugly, right-wing agenda.”
Mr Cable argues that leaving the EU would put three million jobs at risk and force foreign companies to cut their investment in UK. He says while leaving will damage the economy, staying in will allow the UK influence over climate change rules and trade. Being in the European Union helps us catch fugitives abroad, he argues.
The Lib Dem minister takes a side swipe at Labour and the Conservatives too, saying they have not had the courage to stand up to Ukip. He goes on: “The Conservatives are deeply divided and won’t engage. Many of them sympathise with Ukip and want to pull us out of Europe too. And Labour are shying away from making the case publicly; keeping their heads below the parapet.
“They both seem to be content to let Ukip steal the limelight and edge us all slowly towards the European exit door. Only the Liberal Democrats are making the case to keep Britain in Europe.”
His position is echoed by Nick Clegg, who writing for The Independent, reveals a high-risk strategy in which his party will go head-to-head with Ukip at the European Parliament elections in May.
He writes: “Only the Liberal Democrats are fighting to keep Britain in Europe. We have just 100 days to stop Ukip becoming a major force.” Earlier in January, Mr Clegg admitted the Lib Dems were facing a “real uphill struggle” going into the European Elections. The Lib Dems are hoping to target the one-in five voters who consider themselves pro-Europe.
A Ukip spokesman told The Independent: "It is a bit rich of Vince Cable to talk about barmy policies when his party supported euro membership and continues to act as a cheerleader for irresponsible open door immigration and green taxes that are pushing energy bills up."
On Monday an ICM poll for the Guardian showed that one in five voters would back Ukip in May’s election. Despite that Labour is in the lead with 35 per cent of the vote and Conservatives come second with 25 per cent. Ukip came in third with 20 per cent of the vote.
In pictures: politicians do the silliest things
In pictures: politicians do the silliest things
1/21 Puzzled Clegg
Nick Clegg shows us how difficult it is to rub your head and pat your tummy and be a Lib Dem leader
2/21 David Cameron
One Brentford worker shows how we all feel when David Cameron starts talking about the 'global race'
When the Conservatives launched the hashtag #SameOldLabour little did they realise how similar Labour politicians really were
4/21 Back to school
George Osborne didn't think much of the new sex app for Google Glass
Ed Balls with his 'cash cow'
6/21 Boris being Boris
The Mayor of London shows why there's hope for us all
7/21 Halo effect
Ed Balls has *another* bright idea
8/21 Oh Osborne
George Osborne does an impression of a man without a brain.
9/21 Miliband, Clegg and Cameron
Three men make a tiger?
10/21 Nick Clegg in the smallest chair in the world
11/21 Boris really does get around
This picture tweeted by Oxfam's campaigns and policy director appears to show a Boris Bike turning up in The Gambia, proving that Boris really does get around.
12/21 Miliband on the unions?
Ed Miliband reveals who he'd like to get his hands on
13/21 Not everybody finds Boris funny
This information board at Clapham South tube station quoted London Mayor Boris Johnson promising to safeguard ticket offices in 2010
Jack Leather/Channel 5/Twitter
14/21 Ghoulish Osborne
15/21 Gove may have finally resorted to prayer.
16/21 No comment.
Herr Farage: The Ukip leader Nigel Farage was on the BBC busy defending himself against all sorts of allegations about off-colour goings-on as a young man, when, alas!, a transmission glitch appeared to endow Farage with a moustache last seen on a political leader who liked Europe so much he decided to invade most of it 70 years ago
17/21 Boris Johnson supporting.. squatting?
A protest sign is held up as London Mayor Boris Johnson launches The Year of the Bus from a Routemaster bus outside City Hall in London
18/21 Theresa May
Theresa May shows us she knows all about terror (*inspiring it that is)
19/21 Ukipissshhhh (hiccough)
What Nigel Farage thinks of drinking
20/21 Clegg's actual Christmas card
Nick Clegg's Christmas card.. those bootees are fabulous.
21/21 Diane Abbott
This 2004 painting of MP Diane Abbott cost £11,750. But the real question.. why was she naked?