Ukip is 'growing up' - so what does it stand for now?
Party leader Nigel Farage expects Ukip to overtake Lib Dems with new raft of policies
NIGEL FARAGE today told his party conference that Ukip was "growing up" and will come first in next year's European elections. He claimed the party would overtake the Liberal Democrats, in terms of membership, in two years, the BBC reports.
Farage said Ukip had shifted the political agenda in Britain and pledged to use the Euro elections as "a referendum on EU membership".
Ukip seems to be a rising political force - but what exactly are its policies?
Cut 'health tourism': The BBC reports a proposal from Ukip to insist migrants from outside the EU must have medical insurance before they can be treated in British hospitals or GPs' surgeries, to end so-called Ohealth tourism'. Doctors' groups have expressed concern about being asked to establish immigration status in patients when their duty should be to treat ill people but the government is currently considering a similar scheme to Ukip's proposal.
Set up a fracking fund: Ukip's energy spokesman, Roger Helmer, today labeled people concerned about the environmental impact of the Ofracking' technique of shale gas extraction "eco-freaks" and dismissed wind power and other renewables as "playground technology". The party proposes investing revenue from fracking in a sovereign wealth fund but climate secretary Ed Davey has said the money should be invested instead in renewable energy, the Daily Telegraph points out.
Council home priority for locals: Council house applicants whose parents or grandparents were born locally should get waiting list priority, says Ukip. The Guardian says the policy "will also draw criticism that Nigel Farage's party is appealing to beliefs which are allegedly based on scant evidence". The government, meanwhile, intends to use statutory guidance to insure that people have lived in the same area for two to five years before they can apply for social housing.
No ex-BNP members: In his speech today, Farage addressed a recent report by Channel 4 News that alleged his teachers at school believed he was "racist" and a "fascist", saying: "We firmly, fiercely oppose racism, extremism and sectarianism of the left or right." He repeated that one of Ukip's policies, shared by no other party, is not to allow ex-BNP members to join. ·