UKIP's Farage rejects Tory pact over PM's 'closet racists' attack
Cameron under pressure to withdraw 2006 remark about UKIP's 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists'
UKIP leader Nigel Farage appears to have rejected an electoral pact with David Cameron and the Tories just when Tory party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant is calling for a deal.
Farage has tweeted this morning: "No deal with the Tories. It's war."
What has caused Farage's ire? Answer: Cameron's refusal to withdraw a 2006 comment that UKIP members are mostly "closet racists".
Farage is now looking for a full apology from Cameron because of the controversy in Rotherham where a Stalinist council official has removed two foster children from a couple because they were members of UKIP.
Downing Street infuriated the party further by clarifying this weekend that not all UKIP members are racist, but refused to withdraw the charge that in Cameron's view some are.
It all goes back to a remark made by Cameron in 2006 when he said UKIP members were “fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly”.
Farage condemned the "slur", arguing it is not racist to believe in tighter border controls limiting immigration.
"[David Cameron] alone in British politics today continues to throw this slur at us that because we believe in not having our law set in Europe and controlling our borders that somehow that is racist. If he wants an electoral war with my party on his immigration open door policy he can have one," he told Sky News.
Farage said UKIP, which came third in the recent Corby by-election, would tackle the Prime Minister on his immigration policies in the run-up to 2015.
The timing is perfect for Farage. The fostering row has given sympathetic national publicity to UKIP days before a by-election in Rotherham for an MP to replace Labour's disgraced Denis MacShane, who resigned after being exposed for fiddling his expenses.
MacShane had a Labour majority of over 10,000. UKIP came sixth in the seat in 2010 but could beat the Tories into second place on Thursday. That sort of damage to the Tories could stop them regaining power at the next general election.
Meanwhile, Michael Fabricant has circulated a report called The Pact urging Cameron to offer a deal to Farage not to put up candidates against Tory eurosceptic candidates in 2015 in return for an in/out referendum on Britain's continued membership of the EU.
Fabricant told The Independent: "This pact could yield an additional 20 to 40 seats, perhaps more, in 2015 if UKIP co-operates. The alternative, which both David Cameron and UKIP will have to consider, might mean a more pro-European Union Labour government."
Even Labour leader Ed Miliband has attacked the move by the Labour-controlled Rotherham council to refuse to allow two Eastern European children to be fostered with the UKIP members because of the party's policies.
Cameron appears to have little choice but to start eating his words. The Mole hears that could start at the regular Downing Street meeting with Lobby journalists at 11 am today.