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Nigel Farage urges Jeremy Corbyn to support Ukip's EU exit campaign

Published 04/09/2015

Ukip leader Nigel Farage is campaigning for Britain to leave the EU
Ukip leader Nigel Farage is campaigning for Britain to leave the EU

Nigel Farage has appealed for Jeremy Corbyn to join him in calling for Britain to leave the EU as he kicked off Ukip's referendum campaign.

Mr Farage said the impact the Labour leadership frontrunner was having showed the political left were "waking up to what the EU is".

The Ukip leader also reiterated his determination to play a key role in the national vote, dismissing suggestions he is a "Marmite" personality who could harm the chances of Brexit.

He made the comments as he formally launched the party's referendum campaign in central London.

Mr Farage said he was planning to go "on tour" around the country from now until the crucial ballot - scheduled to take place before the end of 2017.

He insisted Mr Corbyn's election as Labour leader was now "all but certain", and argued that his influence could be decisive.

"I don't really find myself in agreement with anything with Jeremy Corbyn. However, under his leadership, which looks all but certain, I am absolutely confident there is going to be a proper debate about the European Union that goes on within the centre left of British politics," he said.

"I welcome a Corbyn victory. And yes, even though we disagree on almost everything, I'd love to share a platform with him in the run up to this referendum. So we will do whatever it takes to try and get the result."

Research by Survation for the British Future think tank has suggested Mr Farage's emphasis on immigration could turn off floating voters.

But the MEP said his name was not even mentioned in the polling, and blamed "soft Conservative eurosceptics" for trying to damage him.

"Far from us trying to badmouth or push people away, we're try to bring people together," he said.

"I accept not everyone is going to think Ukip is fantastic or I'm fantastic ... But that's why we need the centre left, whether it's Corbyn or somebody else, appealing to those voters as well."

Mr Farage played down the prospect of Mr Corbyn winning back support from Ukip. But he said having a Labour leader who was "north London, bicycles, non drinker, that kind of thing" would mean there was "no point" people voting Green.

In a phone-in on LBC radio earlier, Mr Farage hit out at Tories for trying to push him out of the referendum battle.

"You have to understand there are certain people in Westminster who are not happy that I am launching this nationwide tour today - some of the rather posher set," he said.

"There are some sort of soft Conservative eurosceptics who think they should be in charge of the campaign and they can manage it all from a few streets in Westminster.

"They have been trying since May to say 'Nigel is divisive and Nigel is this and Nigel is that' ... my name isn't even mentioned in the opinion poll.

"It was taken during the general election at a moment when Ukip was being demonised and it is being dragged out to coincide with our launch."

Asked if he was a "Marmite" politician, Mr Farage said: "I don't think that's right. I have got an opinion. Some people will agree with it and some people will disagree with it. At least they know what I stand for."

The Ukip leader predicted the referendum would be fought in three main areas, and control over Britain's borders would be the dominant issue.

"The first is this basic point about self government and democracy. Are we good enough to make our own laws and negotiate our own trade deals, or do we need this to be done at Brussels level?" he said.

"A subset of that is can we control our own borders or not, and that I think will be the dominating issue of the campaign.

"The third area is money - a huge number of people out there are furious that we are giving £55 million a day to this organisation whose accounts have not been signed off for a couple of decades."

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