Vince Cable warns of Nigel Farage's dangerous plans for the North East

UKIP have defended their leader Nigel Farage after an outspoken attack by Business Secretary Vince Cable

Tim Ireland/PA Wire UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage
Ukip leader Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage is spreading “dangerous” myths about the EU and the North East, Business Secretary Vince Cable has said.

Writing for The Journal, the senior Liberal Democrat said that the UK Independence Party would put success stories such as Nissan at risk.

In an outspoken attack on the UKIP leader, Dr Cable said: “Nigel Farage has been happily touring the clubs, bars and broadcast studios for months telling anyone who will listen that he thinks his party will win.

“That could be a disaster, not only for Britain, but right here in the North East. UKIP’s policies range from the barmy to the dangerous, none more so than their ultimate aim of pulling Britain out of the European Union.”

The minister adds: “If you’ve seen Nigel Farage on television, or met him in the pub, you might think ‘this guy’s alright, he seems like a laugh. I am sure he is perfectly good company. But what he says is dangerous.

“More than three million jobs and billions of pounds of investment in Britain are potentially at risk if his party’s eurosceptic obsession is allowed to gain credibility. If we leave the EU, there is a risk that British companies could face serious barriers to the EU’s market.

“Here in the North East firms such as Nissan, which employs 7,000 people have said our EU membership is vital to their success. So, I am not the least bit relaxed about UKIP winning in May.”

Dr Cable’s comments come as the party prepares to today kick start a 100-day campaign until the EU and local elections.

UKIP’s General Secretary and lead North East Euro-election candidate Jonathan Arnott said: “This is just more typical Lib Dem scaremongering nonsense. Outside the EU, we would be guaranteed by Treaty to have a free trade deal with Europe. We want to be good neighbours with Europe, trading with them but not governed by them.

“The biggest recent poll shows that most businesses believe the costs of the Single Market outweigh the advantages.

“Since 2010 there have been 3,600 new laws handed down by the EU, with the red tape strangling our businesses. Outside the EU we wouldn’t have to pay £55m a day in membership fees, but we would regain control of our own borders and the power to make our own laws. Jobs would be gained, not lost.”

UKIP are seen by the three main parties as the biggest vote threat in the region. Currently Labour, the Tories and the Lib Dems have one MEP each in the region, but polling suggests the UKIP vote could decide whether the region retains a Conservative MEP.

North East Tory MEP Martin Callanan has seen his attempts to seek re-election supported by Eurosceptic MEP Daniel Hannan, who described him as “the most effective Eurosceptic in the EU”.

Danny Lawson/PA Wire UK Business Secretary Vince Cable
UK Business Secretary Vince Cable
 

Business Secretary Vince Cable on why it is crucial you vote in 100 days' time

European Parliament elections are usually a chance for voters to sound off with a message of protest, or simply abstain.

“Who cares?” “What does it matter?” has been a common reaction. But this time - 100 days from now - it does matter. Thanks to UKIP.

Its leader Nigel Farage has been happily touring the clubs, bars and broadcast studios for months telling anyone who will listen that he thinks his party will win.

That could be a disaster, not only for Britain, but right here in the North East.

UKIP’s policies range from the barmy to the dangerous, none more so than their ultimate aim of pulling Britain out of the European Union.

Be under no illusions. Exit from Europe would seriously damage the economy and destroy jobs.

The Conservatives are deeply divided and won’t engage. Many of them sympathise with UKIP and want to pull us out of Europe too.

And Labour are shying away from making the case publicly; keeping their heads below the parapet.

They both seem to be content to let UKIP steal the limelight and edge us all slowly towards the European exit door.

Only the Liberal Democrats are making the case to keep Britain IN Europe.

IN for the sake of over 140,000 North East jobs linked to trade with the EU.

IN to work with our neighbours to tackle cross-border crime, which has helped bring to justice violent and sexual offenders from the North East.

IN so that Britain can influence the rules around trade, or climate change.

The real question at this May’s election is: in or out?

UKIP clearly wants us out, the Liberal Democrats want us in.

If you’ve seen Nigel Farage on television, or met him in the pub, you might think ‘this guy’s all right, he seems like a laugh. I am sure he is perfectly good company. But what he says is dangerous.

More than three million jobs and billions of pounds of investment in Britain are potentially at risk if his party’s eurosceptic obsession is allowed to gain credibility.

If we leave the EU, there is a risk that British companies could face serious barriers to the EU’s market.

Those successful countries that have stayed outside, like Norway and Switzerland, manage by agreeing to European rules over which they have no control, as non-members.

Leading American, German and Japanese employers such as Hitachi, Siemens and Ford have already warned they could cut investment or even relocate from the UK to countries still inside the EU, causing big job losses.

Here in the North East firms such as Nissan, which employs 7,000 people have said our EU membership is vital to their success.

It’s why eight out of 10 CBI members, and over eight out of 10 manufacturers and financial firms want us to stay in the EU. They have located here because they were confident they could trade in the EU and now they risk losing access to a key market.

UKIP present themselves as the outsiders in British politics, fighting to represent the common working man.

However, their policies reveal they actually represent an ugly, right-wing agenda.

They want a flat tax that would help millionaires and mean a huge tax hike for ordinary workers – leaving them paying as big a proportion of their income in tax as the rich.

Their health spokesman wants to let rich people skip the queue in the NHS.

One MEP wants British Muslims to sign a declaration denouncing sections of the Koran.

Then there’s the plain barmy policies. They want to ban service workers wearing baseball caps.

So, I am not the least bit relaxed about UKIP winning in May. I want to stop them. The Liberal Democrats want to stop them. And we need your help.

Don’t wait for a General Election or a referendum. If you want to stop UKIP we have 100 days. Are you IN?

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