UKIP in the news
‘UKIP insider’ suggests party will challenge Labour
The Sunday Express reports that UKIP is to target Labour seats. Its correspondent Marco Giannangeli claims that a UKIP insider told the paper that a ‘high-level strategy meeting’ last week decided that the party would launch an assault on Miliband’s ‘cost of living’ message.
The campaign will see two posters unveiled tomorrow in London and Doncaster, a key target area for Ukip, highlighting the extra cost that EU membership brings to energy and food bills. It occurred to party leader Nigel Farage that Mr Miliband did not understand the links between the crisis in living standards and our membership of the EU.
Deputy leader Paul Nuttall said: ‘Labour has lost five million traditional supporters since Tony Blair’s New Labour experiment, which has seen the party hijacked by a Liberal Metropolitan middle-class agenda and they have been left disowned. Many actually have Conservative social values. These are the people affected most by mass immigration because these are the people whose communities have been turned upside down.
‘Our policies resonate with them. They are the most likely to be affected by crime and this is where our zero- tolerance approach, and our objection to the Human Rights Act, go down so well. ‘At the moment we have education by wealth and not ability, because all social mobility has stagnated. ‘The Common Agricultural Policy means every working-class family is paying £400 a year extra for food.’ “
Farage and Cameron to debate?
Also in the Express, there is a hint that Cameron will face Nigel Farage in a televised debate.
Political editor Macer Hall reports:
David Cameron and Nigel Farage are set to clash later this year in a TV debate. The Prime Minister indicated that he was prepared to take part in a live broadcast debate with smaller parties including Ukip and the Greens. Officials said that formal talks to pave the way for the crunch clashes will begin ‘later this year’.
Mr Cameron’s hint appeared to confirm reports that Downing Street is planning three debates, featuring different politicians. ‘I’m very keen to examine all the different formats we can have,’ Mr Cameron said yesterday. One would feature him and Ed Miliband while a second would also include Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg. A third would involve the leaders of the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems, Ukip and the Green Party.
Mr Cameron wants to hold at least some of the clashes before the official start of the general election campaign. He said: ‘I’m keen to have debates before. Last time they rather took the rest of the life out of the general election.’
A ‘mild and minor’ clawback of EU powers?
The Sunday Telegraph reports that Nick Clegg will today ridicule Cameron’s planned EU clawback.
Political Correspondent Matthew Holehouse claims:
David Cameron will disappoint grassroots Tories over Europe by seeking only a ‘mild’ renegotiation of Britain’s membership, Nick Clegg will suggest today. The Deputy Prime Minister will ridicule Mr Cameron’s promise of a radical repatriation of powers to Britain, saying he can only achieve ‘minor’ changes in the face of French and German opposition. The Prime Minister is now seeking a way out after making more promises than he can deliver to restive Conservative backbenchers.
Mr Clegg will warn that any changes Mr Cameron did manage to negotiate would ‘never be enough to satisfy’ Eurosceptic Tories. ‘Caught between their backbenchers’ demands and the needs of British business, the Conservative leadership has spent the last three years ducking and weaving, looking for a way out,’ he is to say.
Mr Cameron last week said securing an in-out referendum on EU membership would be a deal-breaker in any future Coalition negotiations. ‘This is not something I would ever barter away or give away. I would not be Prime Minister of a government unless we could carry out our pledge of an in-out referendum,’ Mr Cameron said.
Don’t believe Cameron’s promises
In the Mail, Cameron admits voters have doubts over whether he can deliver on his EU promises. Kieran Corcoran reports:
David Cameron has issued a direct plea to undecided voters to back his plans for Europe in this month’s elections – but admits that he understands their doubts over his ability to deliver. Pre-empting doubts over whether he will follow through on his promises, he said: ‘If you’re reading this thinking “I’ve heard all this before” – I get it. I was watching, too, when Labour made Britain the doormat of Europe and signed British taxpayers up to eurozone bail-out funds. So I understand the scepticism.’
UKIP surges in the polls
Several of the papers report on the surge in UKIP’s poll. The Guardian says UKIP is ‘draining’ votes from its rival parties.
Ukip has maintained its recent surge and now commands 20% of the national vote, according to the latest Observer/Opinium poll. Nigel Farage’s party is now just nine points behind the Conservatives with less than a fortnight to go before council and European elections.
Labour, on 33% (-1 point compared to a fortnight ago), has stretched its lead to four points lead over the Tories (who are down three points). Low scores for both the main parties suggest Ukip (up two points) is draining votes from the two biggest established parties. The Lib Dems are up two points on 9%.
Ukip’s score of 20% is its highest since last summer’s Opinium record of 21% and suggests voters have not been deterred in large numbers by a series of gaffes and claims that some of its members are racists. Opinium also asked a series of questions about voters’ engagement with and knowledge of the EU. Only around one in 10 (11%) said they were confident they could name one of their regional MEPs, compared with 52% who believed they could name their local MP and 31% who could name one of their councillors.
If voters’ ability to name their MEPs was poor, engagement with their EU representatives is even lower. Just 8% of UK voters have ever contacted one of the MEPs, while 79% have never even considered approaching one of their MEPs.
Some 27% of voters correctly named José Manuel Barroso as president of the European Commission, and 23% correctly identified Herman Van Rompuy as president of the European Council. Almost one in five (19%) thought, however, that Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, was president of the European Commission.
Opinium Research carried out an online survey of 1,997 UK adults from 7 to 9 May 2014. Results have been weighted to nationally weighted criteria.
And the Independent reports growing support for UKIP in the Newark by-election
Last night Ukip’’s hopes of winning its first Westminster seat received a major boost as it emerged that Labour is to make little more than a token effort in the Newark by-election on 5 June. With the Conservatives facing a tough fight with Ukip for first place, there has been speculation that the Tory vote in the constituency would be split, allowing Labour to come through the middle.
But The Independent on Sunday understands that Labour, despite coming second in 2010, has all but written off its chances of winning in Newark, calculating that victory is so unlikely that it is not worth the estimated cost of £100,000 for leaflets and accommodation for party staff. While Labour is still fielding a candidate, Michael Payne, and there will be some shadow ministerial presence on the ground, the cash-strapped party is concentrating its scarce resources on the local and European elections and the general election battle next year. The move will effectively leave the way clear for Ukip’s candidate, Roger Helmer, to gain ground on the Conservative, Robert Jenrick.
Cameron runs out of ideas
The Mirror reports that David Cameron has ‘run out of ideas’ and has decided to close Parliament early.
David Cameron closes Parliament and gives MPs 19-DAY break because Government has run out of ideas. The House of Commons was not due to rise until May 22, which would have meant 12 days off before members return for the Queen’s State opening on June 4. MPs will pack their bags on Thursday less than a month after having a two-week Easter holiday, reports the Sunday People.
There are suspicions in Westminster the PM is freeing up his MPs to fight the European and local elections after polls suggested the Tories face a ballot box disaster on May 22. There are also fears the early finish means Parliament cannot be recalled till the Queen reopens it – even in a crisis.
Downing Street declined to comment on the early finish.