UKIP is “parking its tanks on the Labour Party’s lawn” and tearing vast chunks out of its vote, Nigel Farage has declared, as his party set out plans to slash income tax.
Addressing an exuberant audience at the party’s conference in Doncaster, Mr Farage said he was going after the blue-collar vote and claimed the party was now a serious threat to Labour.
He told the crowd Ukip chose to hold the conference in the town “because Ed Miliband is one of the town’s MPs and we want to signal to the world, we are now parking our tanks on the Labour Party’s lawn”.
The Ukip leader said the party was making major inroads into Labour support in the Midlands, the north and across Wales.
He told activists: “This party is not about left and right, this party is about right and wrong.”
Mr Farage said some of the polling the party had completed showed Ukip posed a threat “not just to the Conservative Party, as the papers would have you believe – we pose a threat to the entire British political class and I’ll drink to that”.
Mr Farage attacked the use of private finance initiative deals in the NHS.
He said: “So let’s fight the Labour Party back on the National Health Service. They’ve done more than anybody to actually bring private money into the health service and it’s not Ukip that will do it.”
Britain’s foreign policy, he told the conference, “has been a total and utter shambles” and said bombing missions in Iraq would only “unnecessarily kill a large number of civilians”.
Mr Farage issued a rallying cry to the Ukip “people’s army” to go out and fight for support.
He said: “If we win enough seats in that parliament in what is going to be a tight general election, we could even say to people ‘vote Ukip to hold the balance of power’.
He accused the three main party leaders of making false promises during the referendum campaign, adding that they were “not made in my name”.
The “devolution genie is out of the bottle” and only English MPs must now be allowed to vote on English laws, he added, saying that he would hold Prime Minister David Cameron to his pledge on English devolution.
Echoing the language of First Minister Alex Salmond, Mr Farage said: “We must hold his [David Cameron’s] feet to the fire because we must fight that election next year, absolutely insisting that, whilst we believe in a United Kingdom, we believe that English MPs only must vote on English laws and that has to come to pass.”
Mr Farage said the main battleground for the general election would be “open door” immigration. He said: “If I look at the economic situation in Greece and in Italy and in Portugal and in Spain, I fear the numbers that come will get greater.”
The 34-minute speech won a rousing reception from the 2,000 delegates.