17:21 Thursday 8th March 2012
Drive BBC Radio Cambridgeshire
CHRIS MANN: Nigel Farage, Leader of the UK Independence Party, is in Cambridgeshire this evening. In fact he’s in this studio, claiming growing support in Cambridgeshire. In a moment I’ll be talking to him, but earlier this week a Tory MEP defected to UKIP. Roger Helmer, and MEP for 13 years, explained his reasons to us earlier. (TAPE)
ROGER HELMER: I have strong views about Europe. I think we would be better off out. I have strong views about climate and energy. I don’t think we should be covering the country with windfarms. And on a whole range of other issues, I’m afraid I disagree with the direction that Cameron’s Conservative Party is going. Indeed, I would say that the Conservative Party today is just another pro-European social democratic party, a bit like the LibDems, a bit like the Labour Party. Whereas the common sense solutions that most Conservative Party members want, on Europe, on energy, on all these issues, actually UKIP is offering the common sense solution. Those are the opinions that I’ve had right the way through, and I’ve been trying all the time to move the Conservative Party in a more Eurosceptic direction, more closely in line with the members. because it’s the leadership that are going in the wrong direction. And I finally finished pushing water up hill. Too many disappointments, too many false dawns, and I’m afraid I don’t think the Conservative Party is going to adopt a sensible attitude on Europe, or on these other issues. And by the way, I would stress, you say UKIP is an anti-European party. We’re in favour of Europe, we’re just against the European Union. But we also have a range of other policies. And I do want to stress, the media often presents us as a single issue party. We’re not. We’ve got very clear policies on a wide range of issues. (LIVE)
CHRIS MANN: Roger Helmer talking on this station a little earlier on. He defected earlier this week from the Conservative Party to UKIP. And the Leader Nigel Farage is in the studio now. Good evenening. Welcome.
NIGEL FARAGE: Good evening.
CHRIS MANN: On your way to St Ives this evening, where you’re going to be announcing another move, are you not, another recruit?
NIGEL FARAGE: Yes. There is a county councillor, who was elected as a Conservative, who will be announcing from the platform tonight that he’s joining us. And I think Roger Helmer, and this chap tonight, the truth of it is there are millions of people out there who voted for David Cameron believing a whole series of promises. Number one, I will give you a referendum. Number two, I’ll get rid of the Human Rights Act. Number three, I’ll repeal the hunting ban. And on and on and on these are whole long line of promises that Cameron made, and he hasn’t delivered on any of them. And I think there’s a big split coming in the Tory Party.
CHRIS MANN: Well you’ve had defections away from you, and now you have defections in your favour. So it works both ways.
NIGEL FARAGE: To be honest, the defections the other way, I can only think of one.
CHRIS MANN: Well you have twelve seats in the European Parliament?
NIGEL FARAGE: Yes.
CHRIS MANN: Down from thirteen at the last election, because of the defections. So you’re on the negative side so far as that goes at the moment. Despite what Roger Helmer says, you are a one trick pony, aren’t you?
NIGEL FARAGE: Oh Lord no. We’ve got a full manifesto.
CHRIS MANN: (INDECIPHERABLE INTERRUPTION)
NIGEL FARAGE: Well, if we’re given the chance to explain the fact that we’re the only party that really believes that we should give every child in this country a chance to have the best education, and that would mean bringing back some grammar schools. We’re the only party that believes that Britain’s four million small businesses and sole traders need the weight of bureaucracy and regulation lifted off their backs. There is a whole agenda here for how an independent Britain could and should be governed. But the big point we always make is that 75% of our laws are now being made somewhere else.
CHRIS MANN: So why don’t people listen to you at the ballot box then?
NIGEL FARAGE: Well at the last European elections in 2009, we came second across the entire United Kingdom, and we came first in 21 big towns and cities.
CHRIS MANN: But that was a protest vote. In terms of local councils, you’ve got, what, seven councillors all over the UK?
NIGEL FARAGE: 139. But you can always say that any vote for any party is a protest vote. But actually people vote UKIP because they see us offering solutions. We want a trade deal with Europe, not membership of the Union. We want to take back control of our borders. To have a total open door to the whole of Eastern Europe is something that in this part of England has had a huge effect on communities, on jobs for young people. So it’s not a protest vote. It’a sctually a positive vision for the future.
CHRIS MANN: So what other policies do you think people will listen to you on?
NIGEL FARAGE: I think on the Human Rights Act people will listen to us. Isn’t it bizarre that Abu Qatada is walking the streets of London, when British businessman Chris Tappin has been sent off to America. What’s going on?
CHRIS MANN: David Cameron has just been in Brussels, trying to get the EU Human Rights changed, as you know.
NIGEL FARAGE: And they will say, sorry Mr Cameron, not even on our agenda. The idea we can reform Europe from within is something that we tried for over three decades to do. It isn’t going to work. And what we’re saying is, why are we paying £50 million a day to an organisation that is damaging our businesses, damaging our trade. Let’s get out of the thing. Let’s get our democracy back in our own country.
CHRIS MANN: So Westminster is more important to you than Brussels?
NIGEL FARAGE: Well ultimately Westminster is where the decision is going to be made.
CHRIS MANN: But you’ve got no hold there. Ironically you’ve got members in Brussels where you don’t want to be at.
NIGEL FARAGE: Like the Scottish National Party of course, who’ve got MPs in Westminster. This is not unique. Ultimately Westminster will have to make a decision. But in the end, it’s going to be the people of this country in a referendum that will make the big decision. And I think that will come within the next few years.
CHRIS MANN: Nigel Farage, thank you for joining us.
NIGEL FARAGE: Thank you.
CHRIS MANN: On his way to a meeting this evening in St Ives.