NIGEL Farage has said Ukip would prop up a minority Conservative government if David Cameron agreed to a “full, free and fair” referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.
The Ukip leader accused Mr Cameron of trying to kick the national vote, planned for 2017 if the Tories win outright next May, “into the long grass”.
But the eurosceptic party would agree to a confidence and supply arrangement – where it backs or abstains on budget and legislative programme votes – with a minority Conservative government in return for a quick and full referendum.
Mr Farage told BBC1’s Sunday Politics: “The price would be a full, free and fair referendum on our continued membership of the European Union, the opportunity to get our country back, and for that to happen quickly.”
Such an arrangement would require Ukip to hold enough parliamentary seats to make a material difference in the division lobbies, after next year’s general election. However, Mr Farage predicted that Ukip would continue to send shock waves through the Westminster establishment, with more electoral successes.
The next by-election battle, which will be fought in Rochester and Strood, could lead to either David Cameron and Ed Miliband being ousted if their parties are given a further drubbing, he claimed.
Pressed on who he would prefer to be prime minister after the general election, Mr Farage told the programme: “Ask me that after the Rochester by-election because I think there is a possibility that one or both of those leaders may not be leading their parties in to the next general election.”
Douglas Carswell, Ukip’s first elected MP, has insisted the party is on course for victory in the Kent seat being fought by fellow Tory defector Mark Reckless, adding the win would “fundamentally” change British politics.