Nigel Farage, leader of the U.K. Independence Party, spoke today on the key issue of immigration, while contradicting his own policies yet again.
UKIP, known for being anti-immigration as well as being opposed to EU membership, has been growing in popularity over the past year. It recently won twelve seats in the European parliament, more so than any other UK party, forcing even the Conservative and Labour leaders to join the debate.
Immigration is a major concern for Britons headed to the polls on May 7th, with nearly 300,000 people moving to Europe’s fastest growing economy last year. And this is even after prime minister David Cameron proposed a target of only 100,000 in an election promise to curtail immigration to the country. It is only reasonable then that Farage would backtrack on his party’s earlier claims of a 50,000 cap.
He would like to “bring immigration to Britain back to normality” while defining that term as the state of affairs at the start of the millennium. Or in other words, before the bulk of Eastern Europeans became EU citizens and began to take advantage of free movement policies. UKIP is by definition anti-EU, so this is no surprise. What is surprising is how much support it is receiving, to the point where Farage may very well hold the balance of power once election results are in.
He claims his party is not interested in a coalition, but he would support a budget if the ruling minority government puts a referendum on EU membership on track. Britons are currently split about their place in the EU, directly correlating with UKIP’s popularity. Though voters should remain wary given the number of policy shifts in recent memory.
“We as a party hold no prejudice against anyone on the grounds of their nationality, their religion or their race,” he said in London on Wednesday. He just wants a country “where we speak the same language.”
Oops. Looks like he let his real feelings slip in yet another contradiction.