The UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage has launched the campaign to take Britain out of the European Union in the forthcoming In-Out referendum saying the UK is not immune to the current migrant crisis.
The central policy of UKIP – which was founded in 1993 – is to take Britain out of the EU and it won 12.7 percent of the share of the vote in the general election in May 2015, making it the third most popular party in the UK.
One of the main reasons for opposition to the EU has been the issue of immigration, with many in UKIP seeking to return all powers to Westminster – especially those concerning asylum and migration policies as well as border controls.
Farage told the launch meeting on Friday that Britain was right to remain outside of the Schengen zone – the no-borders area of Europe which is currently under severe pressure from the current migrant crisis. He said: “We opted out of Schengen – thank goodness – but it does not make us immune from the failure of the common asylum policy.”
Farage was speaking as UK Prime Minister David Cameron agreed on Friday that Britain would take in “thousands more” Syrian refugees, after an outpouring of emotion over the image of a Syrian toddler lying dead on a Turkish beach put him under pressure to act.
Cameron gave no precise figures, but a spokeswoman for the UN refugee agency told reporters in Geneva that the British move would improve the lives of 4,000 Syrians.
Farage said the main issue in the oncoming referendum – which must take place by the end of 2017, but which is likely to be next year – will be immigration and border control.
“The issue of immigration, the issue of open borders, the question of why we are borderless Britain I think will dominate this referendum campaign and, indeed the result. If you look at what’s happened since the last general election, by 14 percent there has been a rise in those who say that immigration is their number one concern in Britain today.”