Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Tuesday, 13 April 2010 16:35 UK

UKIP to back Eurosceptics in other parties

UKIP leader Lord Pearson on why they are backing some candidates from other parties

The UK Independence Party have said they will not campaign against election candidates from other parties who are "committed" Eurosceptics.

Speaking at the party's manifesto launch in London, leader Lord Pearson said UKIP will actively support six Tories and one Labour candidate.

He would not feel guilty about stopping a Tory government because it would mean "five more years of integration".

UKIP are fielding 550 candidates in a bid to win their first MP.

The party, which campaigns for withdrawal from the European Union, want to transfer two million public sector jobs to the private sector, cut taxes and get rid of National Insurance altogether.

ANALYSIS
We have policies in all areas, including animal welfare, pubs etc, right across the board - and that's our manifesto being launched today
David Campbell Bannerman
UKIP deputy leader

Lord Pearson said that without withdrawing from the EU, the UK would be unable to tackle "the deplorable and very worrying state of our economy".

He told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that EU membership cost the country "colossal figures on the economic side", with some estimates suggesting a figure of up to £120bn a year.

Flat tax

Lord Pearson said his party would not run for Westminster seats against other candidates that were genuinely Eurosceptic, and would put up billboards urging people to vote for them.

The BBC's Brian Wheeler, at the manifesto launch, said that meant standing aside in contests against six Tories, one Labour MP, and two Independents.

In Stroud, held by Labour's David Drew at the last election, the UKIP candidate has in his election address asked people to vote for Mr Drew if possible.

FROM THE TODAY PROGRAMME

The party said the Conservative candidates they will not campaign against are Philip Davies in Shipley, Douglas Carswell in Clacton, Janice Small in Batley and Spen, Alex Story in Wakefield and Philip Hollobone in Kettering.

Neither will they challenge independent Bob Spink in Castle Point.

However, Lord Pearson stressed that none of the candidates from other parties had asked for UKIP's help.

Deputy leader David Campbell Bannerman denied that UKIP was a "single issue party" but said that Europe was "central to this domestic election".

Mr Campbell Bannerman told the BBC: "We have policies in all areas, including animal welfare, pubs etc, right across the board - and that's our manifesto being launched today."

He told a press conference that the UK could establish a free trade area with the Commonwealth to establish links with "our kith and kin".

The party's campaign slogan in its bid for a Westminster breakthrough is "Straight Talking".

They promise a new flat tax at 31%.

We can't have our own immigration and asylum policy if we remain members of this European Union
Nigel Farage

UKIP also want a five year freeze on new immigrants settling in Britain and a ban on wearing the burka in public buildings and certain private buildings, and boot camps for young offenders.

In addition to the promised savings UKIP say they could make by leaving the EU, they have also pledged to immediately implement £50bn a year of cuts drawn up by the Taxpayers' Alliance which campaigns for greater government efficiency.

These include abolishing Sure Start, the Building Schools for the Future programme, health service IT projects and ID cards, while halving public spending on consultants, reducing civil service staffing by 10%, cutting the culture, media and sport budget and freezing grants given to Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Free TV licences for the elderly, student loan subsidies, child benefit and child trust funds would also go.

Additionally, UKIP would simplify tax and welfare by removing means testing from pensions, which they say would mean an £8bn saving.

The party's former leader Nigel Farage is standing in Buckingham against the Speaker of the House of Commons, John Bercow.

Mr Farage said the election campaign so far had been a "piddling irrelevance" and the mainstream parties had not addressed the reality of the UK's economic problems.

"It really is time for some straight talking," he added.

"We are skint. We need some massive cutbacks in the public sector.

"We can't have our own immigration and asylum policy if we remain members of this European Union."

Other candidates will include the boxing promoter Frank Maloney in Barking, Lord Pearson's wife Lady Pearson in Kensington and the former Conservative MP Christopher Gill in Ludlow.

In the 2009 European Parliament elections they beat Labour to second place, winning 13 seats, but UKIP expelled MEP Nikki Sinclaire in March after she refused to be part of its multi-national group.



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