Election 2015

Election 2015: Nigel Farage warns of referendum 'stitch up'

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Media captionNigel Farage said the only way to ensure a referendum was by electing "a good number of UKIP MPs"

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said he believes there will be "a complete stitch-up" on a referendum over Europe if David Cameron wins a majority.

He urged undecided voters to turn to UKIP, saying its MPs were needed to "hold Mr Cameron's feet to the fire".

Mr Cameron has pledged to renegotiate a "better deal" for the UK in Europe and hold a referendum by the end of 2017.

Labour and the Lib Dems have opposed a referendum unless there are plans for a transfer of more powers to the EU.

Mr Farage told the BBC's Daily Politics show: "I'm saying to old Labour voters that if you're patriotic, if you want a referendum, if you think immigration needs to be controlled, do not vote for Ed Miliband, vote for UKIP."

Policy guide: EU

This election issue includes the UK’s membership of the European Union and its negotiating position.

He went on: "The only chance of getting a full free and fair referendum is for there to be a good number of UKIP MPs in the House of Commons.

"Mr Cameron in 2008 gave this country a cast-iron guarantee that if he became prime minister there'd be a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. He didn't deliver. He then spent the whole of 2011 and 2012 saying a referendum would not be in the national interest.

"His own position is clear - he wants Britain to remain a member of the EU pretty much at all costs and, frankly, if Mr Cameron had a majority - it's not going to happen - on his own, I fear, not a referendum but a complete stitch up.

"If you're a Conservative voter that feels as I do that Britain should be outside the EU, that we should control our borders, have an Australian style points system then vote UKIP and make sure there are enough UKIP MPs in Westminster to hold Mr Cameron's feet to the fire so that we get a full, free and fair referendum."

'Terrific opportunity'

The EU, and the UK's place within it, has been a major issue in the election campaign.

UKIP want to leave the EU and back a referendum at the earliest opportunity, meanwhile, Labour and the Lib Dems have said they want more influence in a reformed Europe.

The Greens would hold a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU, and the party would also aim to reform the EU to hand powers back to local communities.

Mr Farage had in the past told the BBC he thought Labour would go into the election supporting a referendum.

"I got that wrong, I'm very, very surprised. I underestimated the extent to which Ed Miliband has fallen in love with the corporate big companies and the whole EU form of government," he said.

He added a significant percentage of Labour supporters felt strongly about having a referendum, adding: "It gives UKIP a terrific opportunity to appeal to Eurosceptic Labour voters who would never vote Conservative even if you paid them."

Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable told the BBC's World this Weekend an in-out EU referendum in 2017 "would be very damaging for the country".

He said he did not object to people having a vote, but having one as the Conservatives plan "off the back of this election" would leave the country "in a state of paralysis" and leaving the EU would create "genuinely chaotic conditions" for business.

He added that even a narrow decision to stay would leave confusion as is the case after the independence referendum in Scotland.

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