Ukip policy 'barmy and dangerous' says Vince Cable

Business Secretary says party represents 'an ugly, right-wing agenda'

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."

David Cameron has promised a referendum on Europe if his party wins the next election. Ed Miliband is under pressure from senior Labour leaders  to propose a referendum before the 2015 election too.

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.

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