United Kingdom Independence Party

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UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage, takes libertarian positions

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 disaffected from other parties and fearful of Europe and immigration.


In the British Parliament, UKIP has one representative, Bob Spink in Commons (having won only 2.4% of the vote in the 2005 general election) and 2 members in the House of Lords. However id did well and won 12 of the UK's 78 seats in the European Parliament in the 2004 European elections.

UKIP's present leader, Nigel Farage, is attempting to present the party as having a broad political agenda extending beyond withdrawal from the EU. Consistently with this aim, he is seeking to shorten the party's name to "the Independence Party".

UKIP attracts alienated voters especially on the right who fear Britain is being swallowed up by Europe and must fight back. It left the right-wing "British National Party" in the shadows. It has a libertarian economic agenda. It proposes a flat tax of 33% and opposes national identity cards. It rejects environmentalism.


UKIP is a protest party that sometimes does poorly in elections for the British Parliament but does well in elections to the European Parliament, which it denounces as the enemy to Britain. Polls in mid-May 2009 show it may get 17% of the vote in the June 2009 elections.

Further reading

  • 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


External links