Ukip may prop up minority Tory government in exchange for EU referendum

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has said his party would prop up a minority Conservative government if it agreed to a "full, free and fair referendum" on Britain's EU membership.

It follows a Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday which found that one in four Britons back Ukip.

The eurosceptic party won a by-election in Clacton with a giant 12,404-vote lead.

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Ukip launches campaign in Rochester and Strood

Ukip have launched a campaign to try and win their second seat in the Parliament.

The party leader Nigel Farage and his new MP Douglas Carswell spent the day campaigning in Rochester and Strood, where they hope Tory defector Mark Reckless will become the party's second MP.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports:

This by-election could have far-reaching implications

  • By ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen

The Conservatives are starting by giving everyone here in the constituency of Rochester and Strood a say in who their candidate is, in the hope that that will drum up some interest. Consequently they don't actually have a candidate yet.

There are big issues to be settled here: Can Ukip win as a party on their own merits? Can the Conservatives hold them back and stop more defections? Could a Conservative-Ukip split let Labour through?

How these questions are answered here could have implications for politics far beyond Rochester and Strood.

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No Ukip-Conservative pact, vows Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage has vowed that Ukip will not make an election pact with the Conservatives as he campaigns in Kent with Rochester and Strood byelection candidate Mark Reckless.

Nigel Farage appeared in Rochester alongside Conservative defectors Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Also present was re-elected MP Douglas Carswell, who became the party's first elected parliamentary representative after winning Thursday's Clacton byelection.

Addressing supporters in the constituency, Mr Farage accused the "Westminster parties" of running a smear campaign against Ukip and said he was "targeting everybody in this campaign".

"Let's make the people's army of Ukip march on Rochester and Strood," he added.

Ukip trio hit the campaign trail in bid for Kent seat

Ukip leader Nigel Farage and newly elected MP Douglas Carswell have joined their party's candidate Mark Reckless on the campaign trail in Rochester.

Mark Reckless, left, is bidding to recapture the Rochester and Strood seat that he vacated by switching from the Conservatives to Ukip. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Nigel Farage insists more MPs could be in line to defect to Ukip with the party now earning a voice in Parliament through Clacton MP Douglas Carswell, right. Credit: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire

Nigel Farage targets Kent seat and more MP defections

Ukip leader Nigel Farage and the party's first elected MP Douglas Carswell will hit the campaign trail again today to push to secure a second seat in Parliament.

The pair will join Carswell's fellow Tory defector Mark Reckless as he bids to regain the Kent seat of Rochester and Strood for his new party.

Ukip captured Clacton and narrowly missed out on Labour's heartland seat of Heywood and Middleton. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

Mr Farage has hinted that there could be more defections to come, from the left as well as the right.

Eurosceptic Conservative MP John Baron last night refused to rule out following his former colleagues to Ukip.

He told BBC 2's Newsnight: "You should never say never in politics but the bottom line is my very strong preference is to stay within the Conservative party."

Nigel Farage: Ukip could hold balance of power

Ukip could hold the balance of power in the next Parliament, Nigel Farage has claimed following the party's Clacton by-election win.

Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage after the Clacton by-election. Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire

The Ukip leader told the BBC: "We've got a chance here in a general election next year that is likely to be very tight, in an election in which no one party is likely to have a majority."

"If Ukip can keep this momentum going, we could find ourselves next May in a position where we hold the balance of power."

David Cameron earlier said that people voting for Ukip were "in danger of getting a Labour government" by stopping the Tories winning a majority.

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Tories 'have tried everything else' when it comes to Ukip

Last night's byelection results are "significant enough for David Cameron to really regret calling Ukip 'a bunch of closet racists and fruitcakes'," ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports.

"It's not as if they limped over the line here in Clacton-on-Sea, they turned a 12,000 Tory majority into a 12,000 Ukip majority," he said.

"[The Conservatives] have tried everything else - they've tried changing policy, they've tried being rude about Ukip, and now they're simply saying that if you vote Ukip you get Labour."

Labour's byelection victory 'was a terrible win'

Labour's victory in the Heywood and Middleton byelection was "a terrible win" because the vote margin had not been expected to be so small, ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports.

"When Ed Miliband stood on these steps a few moments ago he refused to take any questions from reporters," he said.

"Usually a leader who's just won a byelection will stand there all day telling you how wonderful they are - but he had a heck of a scare last night."

HIV group: Farage's plan 'most deplorable kind of bigotry'

Nigel Farage's plan to ban people with HIV from migrating to the UK "is an example of the most deplorable kind of bigotry," the British HIV Association has said.

Chairman Dr David Asboe said:

His stance completely ignores the positive contribution made to society by people with HIV, and threatens to reignite the sort of discrimination and stigma attached to HIV that the vast majority of people in the UK had hoped was consigned to history. This attitude not only denigrates migrants to the UK, but also the 100,000 people currently living with HIV in the UK, and the 30,000,000 others living with HIV around the world.

– British HIV Association statement

Nigel Farage: Heywood result 'beyond my wildest dreams'

Nigel Farage has hailed Ukip's performance in the Heywood and Middleton byelection as "extraordinary" and "beyond my wildest dreams".

Although the party fell 600 votes short of victory, they dramatically reduced Labour's majority, which had been a relatively comfortable 6,000.

Speaking on a walkabout in Clacton, where Douglas Carswell became Ukip's first elected MP, Mr Farage also repeated that in the north "if you vote Conservative, you get Labour" - mocking the Tories' claim that "if you vote Ukip, you get Labour".

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