Europe’s far-right parties eyeing up Ukip
Europe's far-right politicians are already wooing Nigel Farage in a bid to create a far-right group in the next European parliament.
Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch Freedom party, has said he hopes Ukip will be persuaded to join a 'European Freedom Alliance' voting bloc after this year's European elections.
He believes Farage could be prepared to break his promise not to work with the French National Front, led by Marine Le Pen, which is currently leading opinion polls in France.
"I respect Mr Farage a lot. I think he is a very charismatic and excellent politician and I understand he has so much support in the United Kingdom today," Wilders told the Telegraph newspaper.
"But I also respect Marine Le Pen a lot. She is a very charismatic leader as well doing so good in the polls with almost the same message when it comes to less Europe.
"I still hope that after the elections in May both Miss Le Pen Mr Farage and myself will be able to work together."
Le Pen has previously compared Muslims praying in the street to the Nazi occupation of France. But since 2010 she has tried to "detoxify" her party's image.
Wilders, who earlier this month encouraged supporters at a rally to chant 'Moroccans leave', called on Europe's hard-right parties to "overstep our own differences"… in order for almost millions of people who elected us to beat this strong countervailing power against all the power of the Europhiles in Brussels today".
Wilders has already persuaded the leaders of far-right parties in Austria, Belgium, Italy, Slovakia and Sweden to sign up to his movement.
But Ukip's MEPs would represent a sizeable boost to the voting bloc which would boost the amount of public funding it receives.
Farage has previously said he will not work with Le Pen's National Front because it has "anti-Semitism and general prejudice in its DNA".
Agreeing to work with Wilders would confirm the views of many that Ukip is a fundamentally racist party.
But even Farage's open commitment not to work with European far-right parties has not been enough to persuade voters that his party is not free of racism.
A YouGov poll for the Sun on Sunday found that 27% of voters believe Ukip has racist views, while a further 35% think it attracts racist supports and candidates.
The YouGov poll put Ukip on 29%, three points up on Labour's 26%. The Conservatives are on 23%, while the Liberal Democrats are trailing on ten per cent.
Tory campaigners are anticipating a bruising campaign, whose main legacy could be the final demise of speculation about the possibility of an electoral pact with Ukip at next year's general election.
The latest survey of Tory party members by the website ConservativeHome put opposition to a deal with Farage at its highest level yet, with 64% of respondents rejecting such a move.
Ukip has repeatedly said it will have nothing to do with Front National or any of its fellow travellers in their new group.
"In the next European Parliament, Ukip will be forming the moderate eurosceptic group, and we are very comfortable with that," a spokesperson said.