General Election 2015: No room for the word 'immigration' on Nigel Farage's five-point pledge card but plenty of room for his face

Ukip leader unveils the party's top priorities with no mention of immigration and no sign of the party's star MP Douglas Carswell

Matt Dathan
Tuesday 31 March 2015 00:32
Nigel Farage is surrounded by pictures of himself as he launches Ukip's election priorities (PA)
Nigel Farage is surrounded by pictures of himself as he launches Ukip's election priorities (PA)

Nigel Farage unveiled Ukip’s five-point pledge card today but there was a glaring omission: the word ‘immigration’.

There was plenty of room for his face though and he was surrounded by pictures of himself as he launched Ukip's election campaign in central London.

There was also a notable absentee – Ukip’s first elected MP Douglas Carswell. The party rolled out its other big stars - its other MP Mark Reckless and a number of its MEPs, including Patrick O'Flynn and the party's deputy chair Suzanne Evans.

Ukip's top five priorities

Mr Farage brushed both omissions aside, claiming "people aren't obsessed with immigration" and said Mr Carswell was campaigning in his Clacton constituency.

But it was odd that Mr Carswell would choose to miss the party’s big campaign launch and it will fuel rumours he is at odds with Mr Farage, after last month saying immigration was "overwhelmingly a story of success" in Britain.

And it was also a notable omission considering Mr Farage has insisted he wants to change the perception that Ukip is a one-man band. Many see Mr Carswell as the kind of charismatic politician who could take over from Mr Farage if and when he decides to step aside.

Deciding to surround himself with at least seven pictures of himself at today's photo opportunity did nothing to dispel that perception of Ukip as a one-trick pony.

Ukip's stars surround their leader with pictures of his face (PA)

Perhaps Mr Carswell influenced the decision to exclude the word 'immigration' from the party's pledge card.

Instead it includes a vow to "control our borders".

Asked about the omission, Mr Farage said: “Control of our borders, that’s what people want. People aren’t obsessed with immigration as a subject; what they’re worried about is a change in their community, the deflation of their income, their lack of availability to health services, education services and our emphasis is we want an Australian points system to control our borders once we’ve got back control of our borders – it’s as simple as that.”

Douglas Carswell became Ukip's first elected MP last autumn

The party launched its campaign in Westminster, despite Mr Farage railing against the "Westminster bubble".

Its four other pledges are: exiting the EU, an extra £3 billion for the NHS, a big cut in foreign aid spending and abolishing tax on the minimum wage.

Nigel Farage smiles for lots of cameras as he launches his party's election campaign today (PA)

Launching the pledge card, Mr Farage said: "The great British public understand that as members of the European Union the so-called British passports, which incidentally the first two words of which are European Union, is now something nearly half a billion people effectively have.

"You cannot have an immigration policy, you cannot control numbers as members of the European Union. People get that."

Asked about the danger his party is seen as a one-man band, Mr Farage said: "The thing about Ukip is we have become the most eclectic, diverse political party.

"We've got all shades of opinion, we've got people from the left, people from the right, people of all ages, all classes, all races.

"We are quite reflective I think now as a party of what modern Britain is."

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