UKIP leader Nigel Farage has ruled out joining a coalition government “no matter how tempting ministerial cars may be,” three months ahead of the general election.
In his first major speech of the year, Farage, whose party wants Britain to quit the European Union, also pushed his claim for a quick referendum on leaving the 28-member bloc.
“We will not enter a coalition, no matter how tempting ministerial cars may be,” Farage said at a cinema in the seaside town of Canvey Island, Essex.
“We will only do a deal with anyone on the condition that there is an in/out referendum on the EU,” he added, standing in front of a slogan emblazoned with the motto “Believe in Britain”.
The UK Independence Party is hoping to win a constituency which is located in the Canvey Island.
Experts say the party is likely win a handful of seats at the knife-edge May 7 election but if prime minister David Cameron’s Conservatives fail to win outright, UKIP could prop them up in government on an informal basis in return for policy concessions.
Farage also said UKIP would not prop up any party which refused to hold an “immediate” referendum on EU membership.
The Conservatives and opposition Labour party are currently neck-and-neck in opinion polls but experts believe neither party is likely to win enough seats at the election to govern alone.
Cameron has promised a referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union by the end of 2017 if his party wins outright but is facing increasing pressure to hold it sooner and end uncertainty.
Farage also spoke of the need to “redefine capitalism” to favour the “small man” rather than a “lethal combination” of big banks, big business and government.
The charismatic 50-year-old UKIP leader is currently a member of the European Parliament but will stand for a House of Commons seat at the election. UKIP currently has two MPs, both of whom defected from the Conservative party last year.