UKIP leader says Prime Minister's deal to cut EU spending in Brussels is 'rotten' as he pledges party will fight for first Commons seat in by-election
UKIP candidate in running for seat vacated by disgraced MP Chris HuhneNigel Farage said the party's main campaigning issue will be immigrationParty leader said it is not 'right' that the UK 'has a total open door policy'Said EU budget reduction negotiated by PM is a 'rotten deal'
19:43 GMT, 9 February 2013
22:52 GMT, 9 February 2013
Contesting: UKIP leader Nigel Farage today pledged that his party would be fighting for their first House of Commons seat in the Eastleigh by-election in Hampshire
UKIP leader Nigel Farage described the EU budget reduction negotiated by David
Cameron as 'a rotten deal for Britain'.
He made the comments while pledging that his party would be fighting for their first House of Commons seat in the Eastleigh by-election.
Referring to the Prime Minster's deal, negotiated in Brussels earlier this week, he said: 'If you go and knock on 100 doors
here in Eastleigh and tell them that they will pay 50 million a day to
Europe for the next seven years they will think that's not a good deal.'
Mr Farage said the party's number one issue will be immigration, as they contest the four-way marginal fight for the seat vacated by Chris Huhne.
The Lib Dem resigned earlier this week after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice over claims his ex-wife took speeding points for him.
Kicking off the party's campaign for the Hampshire seat, Mr Farage said: 'Our number one issue is that this country faces a second massive migratory wave
'We have nothing against people from Bulgaria and Romania, we wish then well, but we cannot think it's right this country has a total open door policy.'
He also used the opportunity to describe the EU budget reduction negotiated by Prime Minister David Cameron as 'a rotten deal for Britain'.
He said the pressure on housing, education and other services from immigration 'poses a major problem' for the country, especially if people from other countries claim benefits.
Citizens from Romania and Bulgaria will have full movement rights across Europe from 2014.
He also accused rival parties of ignoring the issue of immigration.
'I'm always confident when UKIP is on the ballot paper,' Mr Farage added. 'If we can rally our support like we have in the last three by-elections in Rotherham, in Middlesbrough and in Corby then this seat could become a four-way marginal.'
He admitted that the Liberal Democrats have an advantage in the constituency but added that he was 'delighted' that the Tory candidate, Maria Hutchings, is Eurosceptic.
Problem: Mr Farage said the party's main campaigning issue would be immigration, saying pressure on services 'poses a major problem'
Mr Farage also called the EU budget reduction negotiated by Prime Minister David Cameron as “a rotten deal for Britain”.
Speaking about the Prime Minister's negotiations in Brussels, he said: 'If you go and knock on 100 doors here in Eastleigh and tell them that they will Pay 50 million a day to Europe for the next seven years they will think that's not a good deal.'
He said that 'the years of mockery and derision' for the party were over since he had been UKIP's first ever candidate in another Eastleigh by-election in 1994 – coming second to last and just in front of the Monster Raving Loony Party.
He described the EU budget reduction negotiated by Prime Minister David Cameron as 'a rotten deal for Britain'
'The whole tenor of the debate in this country has changed since then, it's now an in/out debate on Europe,' he said
He explained that in Eastleigh the party would also be campaigning on how a EU subsidy that Britain had put money into had allowed Ford to close its Transit van factory nearby.
But Mr Farage added he would not be standing in the by-election and denied it was because of Mr Cameron's EU referendum promise.
'Good God no,' the MEP said. 'I do not think a vague promise of a referendum five years from now is a reason for not standing.
'The reason is simple: I am leading this party into the local elections in England and then the European elections and thirdly, it's quite busy in Brussels and I need to be there.
Mr Farage said that the party now had good candidates and denied it was just a one-man party and that he was that man.
'If we went into Eastleigh and asked people to name four front bench Labour politicians they couldn't,' he claimed.'
He said the party now had a shortlist of five candidates that the local branch would choose tomorrow with the candidate unveiled in Eastleigh on Tuesday morning.
Labour have also started campaigning in the constituency with Southampton Itchen MP John Denham campaigning in the town with activists but the party has not yet picked a candidate.
The Liberal Democrats, who held the seat in the 2010 General Election with a majority of 3,684, will announce their candidate for the February 28 poll tonight.