The UK Independence Party (UKIP) has launched a populist manifesto calling for a complete and total withdrawal of Britain from the European Union as the government struggles to negotiate a deal with the EU on how the country will leave the bloc in March next year.
The manifesto document published on Friday by UKIP leader Gerard Batten said that Britain should end all payments to the EU and stop adhering to the bloc’s rules.
The party also reiterated its previous positions on immigration, saying the government should be more selective and limited in its approach to the issue.
The 17-page manifest also called for scrapping overseas aid, lowering domestic taxes and a tougher approach to taxing multinational companies.
UKIP was one of the main drivers of a referendum in 2016 that saw Britons vote for their country to leave the EU. Its former leader, talismanic politician Nigel Farage, was a key figure in the Leave campaign.
However, UKIP has seen its public base of support shrink over the past two years. It is not currently represented in the Parliament as it gathered only 600,000 votes in a 2017 general election, a huge fall compared to the 3.8 million votes the party gained in 2015.
However, UKIP seems to be capitalizing on the public outrage over Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit talks with the EU.
May has been facing increasing criticism from within her own Conservative Party that she has been too lenient to the EU during the talks.
She faces the prospect of having her potential Brexit deal rejected in the parliament. That could lead to snap elections in Britain, an opportunity for UKIP’s revival.
Batten said Friday that the new UKIP manifesto was an attempt to reconcile party supporters with its populist ideals.
“Its purpose is to make UKIP a populist party in the real meaning of the word - one whose policies are popular with voters,” said Batten, a European Parliament member.
"These policies are aimed at helping the people who form the backbone of Britain: ordinary workers and taxpayers, the unemployed who would like to work, and small and medium-sized business owners.”