With UKIP regularly challenging the Liberal Democrats for third place in the polls, the party is now beginning to be treated with the seriousness it deserves. In an interview on the Sunday Politics, Nigel Farage made his usual, spiky case for leaving the European Union.
Farage argued that he wants a free-trade deal with the rest of the EU and that the other countries would agree because ‘they need us more than we need them’. Even if Farage is right on the numbers, there’s a major doubt if the rest of Europe would be inclined to cut a deal in the wake of a British exit: a country leaving and then prospering outside would be very damaging to the European project.
There was, though, a reminder that UKIP isn’t yet as disciplined as a party that aspires to be a major force in British politics has to be. Under questioning from Andrew Neil, Farage had to concede that he was several months later in posting the details of his expenses claims online as he had promised to do and that his deputy was more than a year late in filing his. There’s no evidence of wrongdoing here. But it is a crass error for a party to promise transparency and then fail to deliver it.
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