Nigel Farage admits he has had a problem with xenophobes, but claims that the make-up of his party is changing
Nigel Farage MEP, the party’s leader, also disclosed that the party, which has 12 seats in the European Parliament and won 3.1 per cent of the vote in the 2010 general election, is to change its name to “UKIP” to broaden its appeal.
Mr Farage said he was dropping the pound sign because the battle had been won and Britain was not going to replace sterling with the euro.
He said: “Our pound sign has been a fantastically simple image. But now it is in my opinion represents a battle honour and not a forward looking aspiration for a party that wants to represent an independent UK.”
Mr Farage also said the party, which holds its annual conference next week, would be changing its name to the foreshortened UKIP to appeal to more disaffected Tories at the next general election.
He said: “Most of the voters vote for UKIP. The UK Independence Party is a great name for the European elections and less appealing for domestic elections. From here on, UKIP it is.
“UKIP is a voice of opposition against the political class of this country.”
An internal committee at the party has met twice to consider the new logo and a UKIP-friendly design consultancy is helping the party.
Any new logo would have to be able to be viewed clearly on election ballot papers, he said. UKIP’s distinctive purple colour is likely to stay.
The new logo and rebranded name will be unveiled next year in the run up to the 2014 European Parliament elections, when UKIP is trying to overhaul the Tories and win the biggest share of the vote at the ballot box.
In the 2009 European elections, UKIP won 16.5 per cent of the vote, coming second behind the Tories and pushing Labour into an embarrassing third place. Mr Farage added: “Winning this election is an entirely achievable goal.”