Election 2015

Election 2015: UK good enough to go it alone - Farage

Nigel FArage Image copyright other
Image caption Mr Farage said politicians lacked confidence in Britain

UK businesses should not fear leaving the EU, UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said, as he accused politicians of a "lack of self confidence" in Britain.

In a speech to investors in London, Mr Farage dismissed suggestions his party's plan to quit the EU could jeopardise "millions of British jobs".

"The UK has now become the Eurozone's biggest export market in the world. They need us more than we need them."

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg says leaving the EU would be economic "self harm".

'We are good enough'

Mr Clegg has warned that if the UK were to leave the European Union - following an in/out referendum promised by the Conservatives for 2017, should they win a majority - it could put the economic recovery at risk by cutting Britain off from the "world's largest marketplace".

In his speech, Mr Farage dismissed suggestions that Britain could only negotiate global trade deals as part of the European Union - saying its EU membership meant it did not have its own seat at the World Trade Organisation and was prevented from making bilateral deals with other countries.

Policy guide: EU

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

"We're told we're not big enough, we're not strong enough, we're not good enough. And this is all about, in my opinion, a collective lack of self-confidence that our political class has in this country, in this people, in its entrepreneurial flair, and its businesses," Mr Farage said.

"Of course we're good enough. Switzerland has negotiated more global free-trade agreements than we have, without being part of the European Union, and Iceland, with a population of 300,000 people has signed its own tariff-free deal with China."

Mr Farage said the EU was "an ageing, declining ailing part of the world economy" and the UK "could do better" as an independent nation - trading with the "enormous English speaking diaspora" worldwide.

He rejected suggestions millions of British jobs could be lost: "They sell us nearly a million motor cars a year more than we sell them... they need us more than we need them."

"[Former trade minister] Lord Digby Jones said Britain could negotiate a free trade deal with the EU... within 24 hours because the German car manufacturing industry would demand nothing less, so there is nothing to fear."

On immigration, Mr Farage also said he did not want to "pull up the drawbridge" he just wanted to "control who comes across the drawbridge" - migrants with their own health insurance, no criminal records and skills that British industry required.

Lib Dem cabinet minister Ed Davey has suggested the Conservatives' commitment to an in/out referendum would make a second coalition with the Tories "incredibly difficult". Labour has said it would not offer such a referendum, unless there was a significant shift of power away from London to Brussels.

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