Ukip’s ambitions turn to Westminster: Farage wants ‘three-dozen’ MPs

Ukip will attempt to secure the balance of power in British national politics in the 2015 general election by targeting around 30 seats, Nigel Farage has said.

In his first major interview since Ukip's historic victory in the European elections, the party leader confirmed his goal was to win enough MPs to decisively influence coalition talks in the event of a hung parliament.

He told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show Ukip would devote its resources to "two dozen" or "three dozen" constituencies where the party had come first in European elections and succeeded in taking council seats.

"We will pick over the course of this summer our target seats and we'll throw the kitchen sink at them," he said.

Ukip will reveal its manifesto at its conference in Doncaster, Ed Miliband's constituency, this autumn, Farage said.

He offered a number of pledges about its signature policies, including:

  • Ensuring every town in the country has a grammar school
  • Keeping the top rate of tax at a maximum of 40%
  • Taking a 'chainsaw' through the middle-management of the NHS
  • Abolishing any tax on those being paid the minimum wage

"We're going to rethink the tax thing," Farage declared.

"I want us to give millions of ordinary families and people in this country the opportunity to live a better life… What we want to do is genuinely address the cost of living and social mobility."

Ukip has already seen a return of the stories about racist or homophobic candidates since the European elections, after one councillor was forced to step aside just days after being elected.

Farage called on journalists to cease attacking his party and complained about the media coverage, pointing out there were a total of 17 Liberal, Labour and Conservative councillors who were arrested during the campaign.

"We posed a big threat to the established parties and they clubbed together and did everything they could to throw mud at us and abuse us… This attempt to paint Ukip out as a bunch of old men with problems about the world frankly doesn't bear comparing to the truth."

He ruled out standing against Nick Clegg in the Liberal Democrat leader's seat of Sheffield Hallam. Instead Farage made clear he would stand somewhere in the south-east of England, where he is an MEP.

Farage revealed Thanet South would be a "distinct possibility". The seat is being vacated by Conservative MP Laura Sandys, who is standing down at the election. Ukip came fourth in 2010, taking 5.5% of the vote.