UKIP’s Farage predicts 50/50 chance of ‘Brexit’

Nigel Farage © Stefan Wermuth
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said Britain’s chances of leaving the European Union have risen to 50 percent, and has vowed to dedicate his energy in the coming months to campaign for an exit in the referendum.

Speaking at the UKIP conference in Doncaster, Farage pledged not to “desert” the party, but emphasized his main focus is to secure Britain’s exit from the EU.

“I used to think we had 33 percent chance of winning, but now I think it is 50 percent,” he said

He stressed that despite only securing one seat in May’s general election, the party could hold its head high. Polls predict the party will do well next year in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, he added.

But that is not where my priorities lie. I am more interested in winning the referendum. I’m not deserting the party, but winning the referendum is absolutely key and that's where our energies must go.

On Friday the conference will address the refugee and migration crisis with a session called “Europe in crisis” where members will call for borders to be secured.

Previously Farage has pledged to work with other unofficial ‘no’ campaigns in the run up to the vote, which will be held before the end of 2017.

UKIP is also expected to endorse a new ‘no’ campaign group called ‘Leave.EU’ which aims to act as an umbrella organization for other campaigns.

“UKIP can be proud of the 4 million votes cast for it this year. But that was under first past the post,” Farage said in his keynote speech

Next year there are proportional elections in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and London where UKIP will make significant inroads and build our elected and electoral presence.

“But above all we are looking forward to the referendum we have fought for for so long.

“UKIP is committed to leaving the EU, and we have always said that we would work with anybody who shared the same aim.

“We have invited all those groups and organizations who share that aim, and can provide a platform to take that message out across the country.”

UKIP has faced a decline in its support base since the general election where, despite winning almost 4 million votes, they only secured one parliamentary seat. This year’s conference is expected to reflect that, and be less triumphant than its pre-election gathering.

Following its poor election performance the party was plunged into crisis as Farage quit as leader, then farcically un-resigned.

Factions within the party also emerged as their support began to wane over the government’s allocation of “short money.

Patrick O’Flynn resigned as economic spokesperson after he made comments attacking Farage’s leadership style.

The party was also forced to insist that Suzanne Evans had not been sacked from her role as party spokeswoman despite an internal email telling press officers to “keep her off the airwaves.