Since his party won only one seat in Britain’s general election earlier this month, Nigel Farage has come under criticism from those in the United Kingdom Independence Party who believe it’s time for him to step down after eight years as leader.
Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond and the United Kingdom Independence Party’s Nigel Farage suggested on Sunday they could pull a next coalition government in a respectively more left- or right-wing direction.
In separate interviews with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, the junior party leaders, who are both expected to do well in May’s general election, staked out positions to the fringes of the two major parties.
Salmond predicted his Scottish National Party would “hold the power” in another hung parliament and use that position to advance “progressive politics” across the United Kingdom.
Polling by the Conservative peer Michael Ashcroft last month showed the Scottish nationalists, who already commands a majority in the regional legislature, winning fifteen out of sixteen closely-contested seats currently held by Labour.
Extrapolating Ashcroft’s polling results, May2015, an election website from the New Statesman weekly, estimates that the nationalists will win 55 out of 59 Scottish seats in the next general election.
Labour is projected to win 271 seats in the House of Commons where 326 are needed for a majority.
Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader, last week ruled out a coalition with Salmond but left open the possibility of a looser “confidence and supply” arrangement.
Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, similarly told The Guardian newspaper earlier this month that her Scottish National Party could support a minority Labour government on an “issue-by-issue basis.”
Sturgeon said she would no longer condition policy support in Westminster on the removal of Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet from Scotland — a longstanding nationalist demand — but Salmond on Sunday criticized Labour for accepting many of the spending cuts the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have made in the last four years, suggesting that a future Labour government would need to relax its deficit targets in order to enlist the nationalists’ support.
Farage, by contrast, criticized the ruling coalition for not reducing the deficit fast enough and keeping taxes too high for low and middle incomes.
If you look at the last five years, virtually nothing has been achieved. Because we’re still running a £90 billion per year deficit.
Under Britain’s first-past-the-post voting system, Farage’s Euroskeptics could win only a handful of seats despite polling around 15 percent support nationwide. But with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats projected to win under 300 seats together, the support of small right-wing parties like UKIP could turn out to be crucial in keeping the left out of power.
Beyond cutting foreign aid and Britain’s £8 billion net yearly contribution to the European Union budget as a consequence of altogether leaving the bloc — which UKIP advocates — Farage struggled to make clear where he would cut to bring down the deficit faster while financing tax relief at the same time.
Salmond was similarly vague in justifying higher public spending, saying only he favored raising taxes for the rich.
British Euroskeptic party leader Nigel Farage said on Sunday he could “potentially” do a deal with Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservatives if they fall short of a majority in May’s general election.
That marks a subtle shift from two years ago when Farage ruled out any cooperation with the ruling party as long as Cameron stayed in power. “Mr Cameron, whenever he’s asked about UKIP, just throws abuse at us and calls us nutters and closet racists so I don’t think there’s any prospect of us doing a deal with the Conservative Party with Mr Cameron in charge,” he said at the time.
Less than a week after he was forced to dissolve his group in the European Parliament, the United Kingdom Independence Party’s Nigel Farage allied with a radical Polish libertarian on Monday to reclaim his position as Euroskeptic leader.
Farage’s block, Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, collapsed last week when Iveta Grigule from the Latvian Farmers’ Union resigned from the alliance.
British Euroskeptic party leader Nigel Farage’s group in the European Parliament collapsed on Thursday when Latvian Farmers’ Union member Iveta Grigule resigned from the alliance.
The Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group, which is dominated by Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party and the Italian anti-establishment Five Star Movement, accused European Parliament president Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat, of engineering Grigule’s resignation. Schulz’ office denied such wrongdoing.
The group’s survival had looked precarious after May’s European Parliament elections when the Danish People’s Party and the Fins Party joined the rival European Conservatives and Reformists, a mildly Euroskeptic bloc that is led by Britain’s ruling Conservative Party and Poland’s Law and Justice. Germany’s Alternative für Deutschland also joined that group, making it the third largest in parliament.
Farage also lost the support of Italy’s separatist Lega Nord which grouped with the Netherlands’ Freedom Party and France’s Front national instead.
At the last minute, the UKIP leader persuaded a Front national defector, Joëlle Bergeron, to join Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy, giving him the required seven nationalities to be recognized as a bloc.
Having now lost that status, Farage’s members no longer qualify for committee assignments, speaking time and subsidies. Open Europe, a British think tank, estimates the group could have collected €3.8 million in annual subsidies.
The collapse of Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy could be a chance for the Front national‘s Marine Le Pen and Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders to revive their own hopes of forming a Euroskeptic alliance. They failed to win the support of more than six parties in the summer.
Farage ruled out an alliance with the Dutch and French nationalists, saying the former were Islamophobic and the latter antisemitic. Yet he did ally with the Sweden Democrats whom Le Pen and Wilders had refused to admit to their group for being too xenophobic.
The Lithuanian Order and Justice party, another former Farage ally, might also be too radical as far as Le Pen and Wilders are concerned. The Czech libertarian Party of Free Citizens is far less objectionable but its economic liberalism contrasts with the protectionism especially Le Pen advocates.
Britain’s Euroskeptic leader Nigel Farage has been able to save his group in the European Parliament thanks to the defection of a lawmaker from France’s National Front.
The survival of Farage’s Europe of Freedom and Democracy, which is dominated by his own United Kingdom Independence Party, looked in doubt after last month’s election, when the Danish People’s Party, the Fins Party and Italy’s Northern League left the bloc while other Euroskeptic members failed to win reelection.
Germany’s anti-euro party Alternative für Deutschland joined the group that is led by Britain’s Conservatives and the Polish Law and Justice party in the European Parliament on Thursday, giving them more seats than the mainstream liberals.
The Alternative, which won seven seats in May’s European Parliament election, joined the anti-federalist European Conservatives and Reformists, the mildest of three Euroskeptic groups in the assembly and now its third largest party.
The Danish People’s Party and the Fins Party earlier joined the reformists as well, defecting from the more radical Europe of Freedom and Democracy group that is led by Britain’s Nigel Farage.