United Kingdom Independence Party
The United Kingdom Independence Party, also known by the acronym UKIP, is a British political party. Founded in 1993, it campaigns for British withdrawal from the European Union (EU). Its support-base is made up substantially of right-wing voters opposed to the surrender of British sovereignty. The current leader of UKIP is House of Lords member Lord Pearson of Rannoch. UKIP is the fastest-growing British political party. It currently has 17,400 members according to a statement by General Secretary Jonathan Arnott in UKIP e-newletter 26th May 2010.
In the 2008 European elections UKIP came second. with 16.5% of the vote and 13 of the UK's 78 seats in the European Parliament In the Parliamentary election of May 6th 2010, UKIP got 3.1% of the vote, a total of 917,232, an increase of 50% on the previous parliamentary election vote. However, owing to the electoral system, they still did not receive any MPs. This makes them the largest unrepresented party in the UK. UKIP has 2 members in the House of Lords.
Under the leadership of Nigel Farage, UKIP broadened its political agenda. It now has policies on tax, defence, the health service, education, electoral reform and constitutional reform.
UKIP attracts alienated voters especially on the right who are critical of the centralized and undemocratic structure of the EU. UKIP has endorsed a British centre-right economic agenda. It proposes a flat tax of 33% and opposes national identity cards. It is sceptical of the more extreme claims of AGW and critical of carbon-permits and other EU environmental policies as economically and environmentally harmful. www.ukip.org/manifesto UKIP is frequently accused of being a racist party and associated with racist parties in the media. However, UKIP membership is open to all regardless of ethnic origin and in the 2010 election UKIP fielded a significant number of candidates who are members of ethnic minorities. [http://www.manzoor4mep.co.uk/
- Daniel, Mark. Cranks and Gadflies: The Story of UKIP (2005) 199pp excerpt and text search
- Margetts, H. et al. "Latent Support for the Far-Right in British Politics: The BNP and UKIP in the 2004 European and London Elections" (2004) scholarly paper online edition