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.
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 got no MPs. This makes them the largest unrepresented party in the UK. UKIP has 2 members in the House of Lords.
UKIP's former leader, Nigel Farage, is attempting to present the party as having a broad political agenda extending beyond withdrawal from the EU. Consistent 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. Its bitter rival was the neo-Nazi British National Party, which has faded away in the polls as a respectable image helped UKIP grow. UKIP has endorsed a libertarian economic agenda. It proposes a flat tax of 33% and opposes national identity cards. It rejects environmentalism.
- 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