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Express & Star readers pose 20 questions for UKIP's Nigel Farage

Dudley | News | Published:

The Express & Star asked readers what they wanted to know from UKIP leader Nigel Farage and you did not disappoint. 

Creating a wide-ranging interview covering topics from cuts to bedroom tax, Gaza, fracking and what happens to the Eurosceptic if there is a referendum on Britain's place in the European Union.

1. Chris Dorman asked:

Would you go into a pact with Labour if the Tories don't get a majority and fall out with the Liberals?

"If we can achieve the right objectives we'll do what we have to do. It would be a pact, not a coalition agreement. It's a very big distinction. The Ulster Unionists kept John Major in power in the 1990s by supporting him on key bits of legislation."

2. Ade Caulwell asked:

I would like to ask what are UKIP's plans for the three emergency services? We have seen constant cutbacks to police, fire and ambulance.

"We saw massive increases in spending in all those services since 1997 without an improvement in front line delivery or care. We will uphold and affirm the principles of great public services but we have to deliver a better bang for buck for people of this country. We have to make cutbacks in unnecessary expense and bureaucracy."

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Nigel Farage gestures as he's interviewed by Dan Wainwright

3. Kirsty asked:

Are you concerned that more people around here will probably have heard of White Dee in Big Brother than the candidates in the Police and Crime Commissioner election?

"Well what about Kellie Maloney (the former boxing Frank Maloney who is undergoing gender reassignment) who's a UKIP member? I couldn't believe that, Frank! We're living in a world where popular culture dominates everything, celebrity is a huge dominant force in our lives today. People in politics look dull. No-one thinks it makes a difference which government we get. If we were here in 1979 or 1983, politics in Wolverhampton would have been absolutely vibrant and live because whether you had Margaret Thatcher as Prime Minister or Michael Foot fundamentally affected and changed the kind of country we live in."

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4. Margaret Hamilton asked:

Your deputy (Paul Nuttall) had been implying that you want to privatise the NHS. What do you say to that?

"No he hasn't. What he said was maybe we should re-think the way we do the National Health Service and move to an insurance system like they have across the rest of Europe. That's an argument Paul wants to advance. I don't think it's a priority at the moment. We need to go on as we are but get better value for money."

Farage answers readers questions

5. 'Dave W' asked:

Will you abolish the bedroom tax?

"The bedroom tax has been mistaken. Iain Duncan Smith's desire to cut the welfare bill is right. But the bedroom tax has created division and it only works if you have a police state with the local council going around your bedroom. I do think we have to cut the welfare bill."

6. Andrew Brisbane asked:

What happens to UKIP following Mr Cameron's promised in/out referendum?

"Andrew thinks Mr Cameron's going to win the next election, well I'll give you a shade of odds on that old son. UKIP was founded with an absolutely clear goal that we should trade with Europe but be a self-governing country. But things change. Parties evolve. We wouldn't be winning council seats in Dudley just on the European issue."

7.Charles Efford asked:

Why will you contest Tory marginals in the general election and jeopardise a referendum?

"In 1997 that might have been a fair question when Eurosceptic parties disproportionately took votes from Conservatives. It doesn't work anymore."

8. Michael Abberton asked:

Is is acceptable for an MEP to describe someone as 'a ting tong', only apologise when caught, and still hold public office?

The question relates to UKIP MEP Janice Atkinson and her remarks about a Thai constituent.

"That really was a bad error of judgment. It was in poor taste and it shouldn't happen. I want people to push the boundaries of debate. I'm not frightened of people having their own opinions. But I can't have my people going out and causing offence. Janice has done wrong. I've spoken to her. It's not to happen again."

NIgel Farage ponders a question

9. Si Bowen asked:

Do you think you would make a good Prime Minister?

"We're not going to win the next General Election. We'll get a hell of a score. We'll come third in the vote, win elected representation and we might hold the balance of power. The question isn't directly relevant. By 2020 I will be too old and knackered and we'll have found somebody else."

10. Ian asked:

If UKIP gets to stop all immigration, who does the low paid jobs in London?

"UKIP doesn't want to stop immigration, we want to control immigration. We want to control the numbers because we don't think it's sustainable. If people are coming to settle you want them below a certain age, to have a skill or trade, not to have a serious criminal record or a life threatening disease. You want them to add to your country."

11. Stuart Miles asked:

What is UKIP's stance / policy on the Gaza / Israel situation?

"I don't have a solution for it. I don't think anyone in the world does. Do I think Israel has a right to exist and defend itself? Yes. Do I think Israel is over-reacting? It looks like it is. Although I'm reminded that when Hitler sent the doodlebugs here we bombed their cities to the ground. It looks like they're over-reacting, but think about it, we did much the same kind of thing. Do I think there needs to be a two state solution? Ultimately there has to be, longer term."

Farage in the Express & Star's newsroom

12 Simon Lyon asked:

What plans do UKIP have to help our town centres?

"Parking charges drive me bonkers and I understand why people go for the out of town alternative. We want to do what we can to regenerate city centres. Whether it's Merry Hill or somewhere else there are people with children who feel more secure going to covered malls and out of town centres. I personally hate them and find them anti-septic. We have to re-think not so much the high street but our city centres. We have a housing crisis but empty properties in city centres. In Germany people live in city centres and I'm wondering whether we should start to think of that."

13. Tia Rafferty asked:

Should British families get school places for their children first ahead of immigrants?

"We're short of primary school places because there are more people and more kids.We have economic policies but how can we plan school places when we don't know to within two million how many people will be living here in five years? I'm not going to answer in a way that could be seen as wanting to wilfully discriminate. We ought to be controlling the numbers and supply of people seeking that education system."

14. David Fraser asked:

How could UKIP reduce the national debt and annual deficit whilst maintaining public expenditure in important areas without maintaining such high taxes?

"There's an argument that if you cut taxes you get more economic regeneration. We need cuts in spending. But there's more work to be done. We have to generate growth. There are small business owners being suppressed from getting on and making money."

The UKIP leader takes a look at the day's editions of the Express & Star

15. Rob Hiley asked:

Will you get rid of PCSOs and replace them with police officers?

"I like the way they engage with the community and get to know the local area. There are good things about them."

UKIP PCC candidate Keith Rowe wants them to be given powers of arrest, however.

16. Alberto asked:

If we leave the EU, are we depriving British people who live on the continent the freedom to leave?

"There's a substantial British community on the Costa del Sol and elsewhere. The Spanish government wants three quarters of a million Brits on the Costa del Sol because they spend a lot of dough there."

17. Kieran Smith asked:

What would UKIP do to regenerate Wolverhampton? Would it apply for European funding?

"We've just let in a lot of poorer countries (to the EU). The days of Britain getting any of our own money back through regional funding are long gone."

18. RogJolly asked:

How would you fix the House of Lords?

"Once the UK is an independent self-governing nation, we will have to move to a partly, if not wholly, elected House of Lords like a senate with 15-year terms. The real priorty is who makes our laws in the first place."

19. Daryl asked:

Can UKIP see an alternative to fracking?

"No. I know people are worried about this and nervous. I am convinced by the extensive use of fracking in America that risks to water supply or tremors are far lower than they were with coal mining. We have with shale gas been given a gift horse we should not look in the mouth."

20. Duncan Buckley asked:

Should the public be able to not just recall MPs but force a General Election mid term?

"Recall's really important. The Conservatives and Lib Dems wrote it into the coalition agreement and they've done nothing. There needs to be a genuine disconnect between the MP and constituents for it to happen. But on calling an election, I don't know how that would work. We don't want to create anarchy. I don't see what the mechanism would be."

Are you happy with the answers Nigel gave? Have his responses to readers' questions changed your opinions towards him or UKIP at all?

See also: Banks's bitter for UKIP leader Farage as he drops in on closure threatened pub.

See also: Nigel Farage: I could put Miliband in Number 10.

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