Page last updated at 08:45 GMT, Sunday, 6 September 2009 09:45 UK

'Most Tories' back UKIP over EU

Mr Farage is standing down as UKIP's leader

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage has said the "vast majority" of Conservatives support his party's policy on Europe.

Mr Farage is running against Commons Speaker John Bercow, who was elected as a Tory MP, at the next election.

He told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show that most Conservative Party members "really think like UKIP", which wants a withdrawal from the EU.

But the Tory leadership would "rather not discuss Europe", he added.

Running against Mr Bercow defies the convention that major political parties do not challenge a Speaker, who is supposed to stay out of party politics.

'Given away'

Mr Farage announced his candidacy for the Buckingham constituency last week, also saying that he would stand down as UKIP leader later this year to focus on the task.

The Liberal Democrats and Labour will not contest the seat.

Mr Farage, who is a member of the European Parliament, said: "Even if there's a convention, why should we respect a convention in a place like this, where people have given away our right to govern our own country?"

Continuing to discuss the future of Europe, he said: "The Conservative Party would rather not discuss Europe...

"The vast majority of ordinary Conservatives really think like UKIP."

Mr Bercow, who was elected by MPs as Speaker in June, has said: "I am more than happy to be judged on my track record over 12 years as MP for Buckingham, my continuing commitment to the constituency and my determination to restore faith in Parliament."

The contest to replace Mr Farage as UKIP leader is due to get under way next week.



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