UKIP slams 'corrupt' Lisbon vote

Sat, Oct 3, 2009, 01:00

UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who entered the Irish debate calling for a No vote, compared the Lisbon Treaty referendum with a corrupt election in Zimbabwe or Afghanistan.

The MEP for South East England said there was a “wall of money” for the Yes campaign, and blamed High Court judgments and broadcasting laws for conspiring against the anti-Lisbon side. “The Irish have been bullied into voting Yes,” he said.

“I have to say while I’m disappointed by the result, I think the whole thing has been an absolute travesty of democracy. The way this thing has been conducted is more akin to Zimbabwe or Afghanistan. This has not been a free and fair referendum.”

Mr Farage said the Lisbon Treaty would now be adopted and lead to a more powerful European Union and that Yes voters would be disappointed that it would not bring more jobs and prosperity.

“I guess history may well look back upon this day as being the day when the very short, brief period of Irish independence actually ended,” he said.

The Ukip leader said his fight would now turn to Britain where his party would heap pressure on Conservative Party leader David Cameron to deliver a referendum if elected to Downing Street next year.

Mr Farage is a member of the right-wing Europe of Freedom and Democracy - a Eurosceptic grouping of nine political parties in the European Parliament.

The group delivered 1.5 million leaflets to every house in the Republic in the run-up to the poll.

Mr Farage was involved in a number of robust exchanges with Yes campaigners, including Minister for European Affairs Dick Roche who said Ukip was “drawn from the same political gene pool as the neo-fascist British National Party”.