Nigel Farage launched UKIP’s manifesto in Thurrock, Essex this morning- a seat his party hopes to win on May 7th.
With the slogan ‘Believe In Britain’, Farage outlined UKIP plans for an early referendum on a withdrawal from the EU.
They want ‘a radical reduction in immigration’ and increased spending on defence and an £18 billion tax giveaway.
He believes his party has produced a ‘gold standard’ manifesto.
He claimed it was the only one that had been ‘fully costed’ and independently verified by the Centre for Economics and Business Research.
Speaking from Thurrock, Farage said:
We are the only party with the self-confidence and belief in this nation that we actually believe that not only could we, but that we should, govern our own country, make our own laws and negotiate our own international trade deals.
We are the only party standing in this General Election saying we want a trade deal with Europe, we want to be good neighbours with our European friends, but we desperately seek a referendum so that we can set this country free from political union.
There is no third way. There is no renegotiation of any value that is to be had in Brussels. Our position is perfectly clear – We want our country back.
UKIP is promising a ‘low tax revolution’ which would see the threshold for paying income tax raised to £13,000, the higher-rate 40p threshold lifted to £55,000 and a new 30p rate on earnings between £45,000 and £55,000.
By pulling out of the EU, scrapping what they call ‘vanity projects’ like the HS2 railway and cut funding for Scotland, UKIP promise they could save up to £32 billion by 2020.
This also includes a radical cut to overseas aid.
However, Farage has promised to increase NHS spending of up to £3 billion a year.
UKIP also plan to increase Britain’s defence spending.
One of the memorable moments from the launch was when the Chief Political Correspondent of the Telegraph, Christopher Hope, was booed and jeered.
He’d questioned Nigel Farage on why the only black face in the manifesto appeared on the overseas aid page.
Christopher Hope said afterwards:
After sitting through Ukip’s manifestos launch in Essex I put up my hand. ‘Chris Hope, Telegraph. Nigel you said you read the document fully, are you happy that the only black face in the document is on the overseas aid page?’
At this point the booing, jeering and whistling started. Black and Asian Ukippers stood up, the applause and cheering continued. I tried to ask my second question. ‘Thank you Nigel, if you could answer the question please.’ The heckling got worse. Someone screamed: ‘Shame on you.’ I looked up and a wall of Ukippers were applauding sarcastically and shouting. I said: ‘Well I am sorry but if Nigel could answer the question I would be grateful, thank you.’
After 45 seconds (according to my dictaphone) of this I asked my second question about whether the UKIP leader thought Ukippers should vote Tory in unwinnable seats.
Mr Farage answered my second questions. But ignored my first about the racial make up of the faces in the manifesto.
In response to Mr Hope’s question, a handful of UKIP’s black minority, Asian and ethnic minority members stood up in protest of the journalist’s question.