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Last Updated: Friday, 15 April 2005, 14:58 GMT 15:58 UK
UKIP aim is to 'reclaim' nation
Roger Knapman
Leader Roger Knapman says UKIP is not a single issue party
The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has launched its election manifesto with the slogan "we want our country back".

UKIP says it is the only party to have a credible immigration policy and wants Britain to leave the European Union.

But it insists it is not a single issue party. Other policies include cutting taxes by 25bn, increasing pensions and giving schools more autonomy.

The other main parties say leaving the EU would cost the British economy jobs and trade.

'Fighting chance'

UKIP had its best ever election result in last year's European polls, pushing the Liberal Democrats into fourth place on the national share of the vote.

Since then, it has suffered the loss of MEP Robert Kilroy-Silk, who left the party calling it a "joke" and set up a rival party, Veritas.

UKIP acknowledges it went through a bad period but says it has a fighting chance in 20 constituencies at this election.

Leave EU
Set up new trade agreement
Restricted immigration
Pensions raised by 25 a week
Council tax cut by half
Raise borrowing 30bn
More nuclear power

Launching his party's manifesto, leader Roger Knapman said Britain needed to regain its independence to deal with immigration.

"The truth about immigration is this: Labour haven't controlled it - they have been in power for eight years and they haven't controlled it," he said.

"The Tories can't control it - they want to stay in the European Union and the EU will guard our borders so they can't solve the problem.

"And the Liberals won't - they don't see the problem. They don't see any obvious limit to immigration."

'Restoring power'

Mr Knapman said UKIP would restrict immigration to approximately the present population.

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The party would not have quotas, it says, but would have a new points system, restored embarkation controls and British-set criteria for those claiming asylum.

Mr Knapman said he was confident the party would return its first MPs to Westminster at the election.

In the manifesto's foreword, Mr Knapman said UKIP existed because "none of the old political parties are prepared to accept that the real government of Britain is now in Brussels".

"Our purpose is to restore the authority for governing Britain to our elected parliament in Westminster - hardly an unreasonable position."

He told BBC News the party would not suffer because of Mr Kilroy-Silk's departure.

"We can manage very easily without him."


Membership of the EU would be replaced by a new agreement on trade and cooperation in Europe, under UKIP's plans.

It insists there is "no question of threats" to the three million UK jobs associated with exports to the EU.

State pensions could be raised by 25 per week by redirecting the UK's contributions to the EU.

UKIP would also raise borrowing by 30bn - with most of the money used to cut taxes. It says this would stimulate the economy in the long-term.

Council taxes would be cut for half of all households, it says, and thresholds for inheritance tax increased to 500,000.

Unruly pupils

The party also likes the idea of a single flat rate of tax, with the bottom 10% tax rate axed.

On health, UKIP wants to free the NHS from "day to day" government management and give consultants more freedom from targets.

The manifesto also promises schools more autonomy, with head teachers given the final say on expelling unruly pupils.

The party is against wind power and would stop the building of new turbines, instead switching its focus to nuclear power.

Europe positions

Labour says it is in Britain's interests to be at the heart of Europe and argues it has helped to make the EU work better.

Tony Blair has promised a referendum on the new EU constitution, which he supports, and on adopting the euro if it is in UK economic interests.

The Conservatives say they would stay inside the EU but renegotiate key treaties to return powers to the British Parliament.

They say a vote for UKIP or other smaller parties is effectively a vote for Labour.

The Liberal Democrats say UKIP represents a "mass of contradictions".

They say they would work towards the right conditions for joining the single currency and then call a referendum.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

We are inexorably being dragged by stealth into a United States of Europe run from Strasbourg where we will eventually lose all traces of our national identity. If this is what people in this country want then that is the democratic result we will get. Unfortunately the people who claim to represent these concerns are now all marginalised and squabbling amongst themselves, splitting the vote into three different parties. In my view, the only beneficiaries will be the Labour Party who are quite happy to preside over the continued erosion of the standards and values that identify our nation.
Michael Perman, London, UK

Such backward thinking tarnishes the reputation of this country abroad
Glen Roberts, Leamington Spa, UK<
UKIP's manifesto truly reads as a list of complaints by the disaffected minority of this country still clinging to the belief that we are actually in the 1950s. Times have changed, opinions have shifted dramatically and such backward thinking tarnishes the reputation of this country abroad. As a young voter living and working in the UK, UKIP provide me with a much needed injection of election humour. Both UKIP and the Conservatives don't actually realise that they are ignoring the young persons vote. Extreme policies on asylum and immigration anger the majority of young people who enjoy the benefits of multiculturalism. As a final message to UKIP, young voters are not interested in the disgruntled moaning of former Tories trying to turn back the political clock.
Glen Roberts, Leamington Spa, UK

Bring on the United States of Europe I say. UKIP are right; the EU is a mess. Europe needs a unified direction to really become a super-power in the world; too many countries in Europe (Britain more than any) are too conservative about making any kind of decision that will let the EU become truly effective! It's time to realise that Britain is no longer the world-wide dominating power it once was; we're an insignificant island off main-land Europe - nothing more. Europe is our vessel to becoming respected once again; let's grab it with both hands and run with it!
Sam Betts, Alton

UKIP does not think in terms of left wing or right wing rather in terms of common sense not nonsense. It offers people of all political backgrounds who are fed up, disillusioned and or worried about the way the main parties are driving this country, a real alternative at the coming election.
Steve Shorrock, Sutton Coldfield - B'Ham

In approximately half a century from now, when the Indo-China economic super power is threatening us from the east and USA from the west, we'll have virtually no economic strength if we pull out of the EU. How about taking an active part in EU to make the EU a much stronger economic basis for better control of the EU in future? Pulling out of EU is just another call to the latent xenophobia that exists in certain part of the UK. Pull out of EU and we will lose our superpower status within our lifetime.
Parimal Kumar, Worthing, UK

At least they ensure that the issue of Europe is kept on the election agenda
Alan Houston, Belfast, Northern Ireland
I do not agree with the UKIP, but at least they ensure that the issue of Europe is kept on the election agenda. It is an issue the three main parties would like to avoid talking about in an election campaign.
Alan Houston, Belfast, Northern Ireland

Britain is an EU state. It voluntarily shares its sovereignty with the other 24 EU states, all of whom share their own sovereignty in the same way. As a large member state, Britain has quite a say in what EU laws are created. For all the EU's flaws, I would prefer Britain to be one among twenty-five EU states with its own foreign policy or even formulating a joint EU foreign policy than to be America's favourite puppet state with no foreign policy, which isn't far off where the UK is at the moment. Which is what I strongly suspect "England" would become under a UKIP government: a wholly-owned American subsidiary and with an independent Scotland disappearing in the distance on its way back to membership of the EU. No, thanks.
Joe, Folkestone, UK

The UKIP manifesto is honest and innovative and is what the Tory manifesto should have been.
New UKIP Member, West Sussex

OK, UKIP. Are you after independence from Europe, or is this a plan to steer us towards closer integration with the USA? I hear nothing from you about the US dictating our foreign policy and distancing us from them as well, yet I hear much about Europe. I suspect that this is all a language thing. UKIP seem to be from the "if they don't understand, speak louder" school...
Paul, Chelmsford

As well as Europe's only hope in staying world players with the US, China, Russia and India in the next 50 years, the benefits of EU law should not be overlooked. The Commission has been an important factor in preventing large companies from holding a monopoly over markets, and the EU legislation on employees has meant that employers can no longer treat their workers like dirt. By working together, the best aspects of all nations' laws can be implemented Europe-wide.
Rob H, Manchester, UK. Europe

I am tired of the same old politicians promising us the same old things and then not coming up with the goods. Have people never heard of conviction politics, I wish people would vote for what they believed in and changed the face of British politics forever. A vote for any other party than UKIP is a wasted vote as voting for Them is voting to be ruled by an un-elected European Commission in Brussels.
B, Birmingham

Tories, UKIP, Veritas, English Democrats, National Front, BNP - seems like these anti-Europe anti-immigration Little Englanders can't even get along with each other in one party!
Anon, UK

The EU has brought a half-century of peace to Europe. War between us is now unthinkable. As a man in his twenties, it is that long stable peace for which I am truly grateful: I have not had to put on a uniform, pick up a gun and head off to the Continent to fight and die in an unnecessary war, like so many of my forefathers. Thank you, Brussels!
Stuart, London, UK, Europe

If you are a Eurosceptic and you choose to vote for UKIP on May 5th, under our current electoral system, you are helping to ensure that Tony Blair's Europhile Labour Party wins again. A Labour win will mean more powers being given away to Brussels during the next Parliament. Vote UKIP. Get Labour!
Angus Allan, Harwich

UKIP are dangerously misguided if they believe the rest of Europe would just renegotiate everything with a weaker stand alone UK. The impact would be restrictions on UK citizen's travel, loss of some, if not most, international investment, a return to import taxes on British good sold into Europe (any tit-for-tat actions would kill the UK economy dead). British firm's already considering relocating their manufacturing or workforce to any of the new EU member states they would surely go, and if the recent nationalist trend is anything to go on Scotland would cede from the UK and rejoin the EU with the benefit of being one of the smaller states getting more direct investment from the EU. Finally America would treat the UK as on old family Aunt who you are nice to on visits but forget to send birthday cards to. I would be interested to know the people who vote UKIP, I'll bet the majority are over 50. The world has changed and these people need to accept that.
J Huston, Dagenham, Essex

Would like to vote UKIP, but as our voting system isn't proportional, and leads to a government that is not representative of public opinion, I'll be voting tactically to keep out the ones I don't want and not the ones I do. All for free trade between members, as we were led to believe when joining the "common market", but let us run our own affairs. Only good thing about the European elections was I could vote for the party I wanted and be represented.
Andy, Stourport, England

In my view a racist and bigoted party that clearly has no clue about the Global Economy. It shocks me that people believe their anti-EU drivel. The loss of access to the world's largest free trade zone would kill this country. We are sovereign despite delusions from scare tactics from Eurosceptics.
Jon, London, UK

I would like to vote UKIP, but as our voting system isn't proportional, and leads to a government that is not representative of public opinion, I'll be voting tactically to keep out the ones I don't want and not the ones I do. All for free trade between members, as we were led to believe when joining the "common market", but let us run our own affairs. Only good thing about the European elections was I could vote for the party I wanted and be represented.
Andy, Stourport, England

UKIP are a national embarrassment
Colin, Sydney, Australia
Ah, that old chestnut: David from London says what about Switzerland and Norway? Ah yes, those major engines of the European economy, representing hmmm, about eight million souls out of three hundred million. UKIP are a national embarrassment. They couldn't run a tap, let alone formulate cogent economic policy. As a Scot working in a distant, isolated country like Australia, the economic and political benefits of belonging to a large social and trading bloc are painfully clear. But then I imagine most of the UKIP have never ventured beyond Dover. Has anyone told them that Queen Victoria is dead now?
Colin, Sydney, Australia

Far from representing a threat to our economic interests, an exit from the EU would enable us to set our own policies and be far more flexible in our trade with other countries and blocs, a definite advantage. Those who fear the UK economy being 'crushed like a fly' by global powers need only look at the examples of Switzerland, Iceland, and Norway, nations who have been very successful at making their own way, despite their relatively small size. It also makes no sense for businesses in Europe to cease buying competitive goods from us or shun a large and relatively wealthy market. Trade will continue to grow, and our increased competitiveness will be to our advantage.
Martin Higgs, Twickenham, Middlesex

Regarding the comment about Switzerland and Norway not wanting to join EU - even though they're outside, they still have to comply with EU law and contribute to the EU budget to participate in the single market. People in Norway joke that they have a 'fax democracy'- 'Brussels' faxes their government the legislation and they enact it. EU states, like the UK, have a say in the making of those laws.
Alex, Durham, UK

Millions of people around the world are denied the right to vote in free elections. We owe it to them to vote with our consciences on 5 May. UKIP - and the other anti-Establishment parties - deserve the vote of all those who share their values.
Barney Smith, Dover, UK

At last a voice in the wilderness. Sunil Joshi didn't realise our country is being stolen because politicians in this country don't want to know. I spent five years working in mainland Europe and British people are considered a joke because the French, Germans, Dutch and Portuguese create all these ridiculous rules but the British are the ones who play by them. I think UKIP are right we should get our country back.
C. Murphy, Southampton UK

UKIP are symptomatic of a general British ignorance of the EU. Do they really think that Tony Blair would sign up to anything in Brussels that he thought would actually reduce his own power or British sovereignty more generally? Of course not, and to suggest otherwise is ridiculous scaremongering. Being members of the EU makes us economically and politically stronger - it is not about surrendering control over our country's destiny. And this nonsense about not standing up for those who fought in two world wars - the EU was established precisely to make sure that these people did not die in vain and is the very reason that we have achieved peace in Europe for the last 60 years. If UKIP think that "splendid isolation" will bring Britain peace, security and economic prosperity in the 21st century, well, they still have a lot to learn.
Christopher Reynolds, Somerset, England

Until I read this article I was intending to vote UKIP, as I believe the EU in its current state is only bad for the UK. Now I see some of the other policies that UKIP are proposing (huge borrowing increases, nuclear power) I'm not so sure - maybe my vote will go to the Conservative party after all.
Phil, Oxford

UKIP need to look forward rather than backward. Next they will be campaigning for the British Empire to be re-established. I wonder whether Alf Garnett would have joined UKIP?
Andy, Flint

Still the same old scare-story that we cannot survive outside the EU. Is Japan terrified of losing its world trade because it isn't part of some Asian super state? The UKIP agenda looks very attractive but the party risks splitting the conservative (small "C") vote and allowing Labour back in. Tactical voting is possibly the only hope for it in a general election.
G. Cooper, London England

UKIP man's statement that the anti-Euro stance is standing up for those who lost their lives in the last world wars is beyond the pale. The Treaty of Europe (the origins of the EEC) and the greater European economic cooperation it promoted was designed to end wars and conflicts. We did fight to free Europe, but France suffered far more than we did. If the French and the Germans can work together why on earth can't we?
David, Hornchurch Essex

As if raising borrowing, leaving the EU and building more nuclear power stations weren't bad enough as policies, UKIP want to downgrade not only Scotland's excellent devolved parliament but also its representation in Westminster. It only confirms in my mind that this party does not stand for Scotland. It stands for well-off, middle-aged businessmen in the south-east of England. These wig-loving old fossils don't stand a chance!
Dave MacPhail, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

Only UKIP can deliver self government for our country. Mr Howard's policy of renegotiation is fatally flawed as he would require support from all other EU Members The other two parties simply sign up to everything as did the Tories when they held power. The EU needs us in terms of Trade and Investment far more than we need it. Real change is possible but not from the three main parties, think of the money we could spend on our essential services without the constraint of the EU budget which is a drain on resources. Be brave and move away from the tired old parties, help is on its way if you seize the chance to accept it.
Robert Tilley, Aldershot, Hants

I am a proud Scotsman, not a "Little Englander" as the main parties like to call UKIP supporters and I will be voting UKIP if they field candidates in my area. The arrogance of the EU is beyond belief - they spend our money on propaganda to weaken our resistance to further integration. The EU website also seems to take it for granted that the EU constitution will be ratified by Britain, by discussing what will happen "when" not "if" the treaty is ratified by all member states.
D. Hall, Linlithgow, West Lothian

If UKIP could not keep its own party together a few months after gaining seats in the European Parliament, I wonder for our country.
Sheni Owoaje, Dagenham U.K

Problem with Europe is this country's bureaucracy, once upon a time it was trained to run an Empire, now its efforts are mostly down to passing on EU edicts. Compare that with (say) France, which basically ignores anything that is not right for France - and quite right too. Regarding the General Election, I reckon the Conservatives have it about right.
David J, Brill, UK

Many thanks to the authors of the UKIP manifesto for injecting a dose of much-needed surreal humour into the election campaign. UKIP are the new Monster Raving Loony Party.
Lyndon Rosser, Cymru/Wales

I voted UKIP in the EU elections and I would vote it again if we had a candidate, which we do not. The EU needs us much more than we need it. If we left, France and Germany could not afford the poorer countries that are joining. We are paying for the improvements to these poor countries with billions in subsidies. That is why they are joining, for our money, not because they love us. Enough is enough, time to leave and spend our money on our own poor and pensioners who deserve a decent standard of living.
Carol, Exeter, Devon

UKIP are a party which has completely failed to grasp the concept of the global market. It is not going to go away. The USA and China will be able to crush the UK like a fly unless we associate further with Europe.
Andrew M, Walsall, UK

This sideshow is of more interest to me than the obvious battlegrounds that will decide which party forms the next government
Mike Parker, Bristol, England
The emergence of UKIP as a possible alternative (taking voters away from the other parties but mainly the Conservatives) could be one of the most interesting stories of this election. I'll be intrigued to see if the support gained in the EU elections, especially in my area, affects the party standings. Should they do well again in the polls it may just be enough to turn safe Tory seats into marginals. This sideshow is of more interest to me than the obvious battlegrounds that will decide which party forms the next government. I'll also be watching to see how the other new parties (Respect, Veritas) get on.
Mike Parker, Bristol, England

UKIP say they favour nuclear energy, presumably that means building Hinckley C in Somerset in the next 5 years
Bryan McGrath, England

As a eurosceptic I do agree with UKIP's views on Europe, but I still do not see them as a credible General Election party, so I will be voting Conservative
Christian, Lancashire, UK

I did not realise anyone had stolen the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom voluntarily participates in the EU because it is in our interests as it is in the interests of almost every other country in Western Europe. It is interesting UKIP want us to leave whenever everyone else is desperate to join. They are nothing but old fashioned imperialists thinking Britain can go it alone. This is the modern world - no one can.
Sunil Joshi, United Kingdom

Switzerland and Norway are not desperate to join the EU
David, London
The reason why UKIP wants zero net immigration, is because we believe that there is not the housing for more people in the UK. Sadly the other parties are being dishonest because they are not trying to disprove us instead they just try to ignore the housing issue. As regards, Sunil Joshi's comment: Switzerland and Norway are not desperate to join the EU
David, London, UK

Why does it appear that only UKIP talk about the EU when nearly 70-80% of the laws passed in the UK emanate from Europe? Our MPs have been neutered and they appear embarrassed to talk about it.
Andrew Meggs, Eastbourne, East Sussex

I agree we should be able to make our own decisions about what happens in Britain, not told by someone who as no interest in Britain at all. Europe is trouble and does not give us hardly any benefits at all, we need to opt out.
Andy Kirby, UK

UKIP are taking the anti-EU stance dangerously far. It is vital to our economic interests that good relations with Europe, especially Germany, are maintained. Germany was once described as the lynch-pin of Europe - any move to pull us out of the continent would damage that relationship and therefore our economic well-being. I do agree, however, that Britain is losing her sovereign power to Europe. The Conservatives, in my opinion, have found an ideal middle road on this issue: return sovereign power to Westminster while maintaining good relations with Europe, i.e. remaining inside the EU.
Iain Stewart, Ely, UK

The Tories are confused when they say a vote for UKIP is a vote for Labour. Astonishingly enough it turns out that, a vote for UKIP is a vote for UKIP whereas a vote for the Tories is not a vote for anything recognisably conservative.
John J, Harpenden, England

It's about time someone stood up for all those people that fought in the two world wars and those that lost their lives. In the past successive governments have given away all the powers of controlling our own country - people like Ted Heath and Tony Blair should be held to account.
UKIP MAN, England, United Kingdom not Europe.

In response to UKIP MAN. My father fought in the last world war and is staunchly pro=Europe. He would tell you his views on Europe were formed, in part, because he fought in the war.
Simon G, London, England



What UKIP hopes to achieve at this election

Call for Scots MPs to downgrade
14 Apr 05 |  Scotland