Nigel Farage has refused to apologise for his controversial “breaking point” immigration poster, despite suggestions by his party that he had.
The Ukip leader was quizzed over the poster, which depicts a snaking line of hundreds of immigrants arriving in Europe, after Ukip politician Diane Jones suggested on the BBC referendum debate last night that he had apologised for it.
Speaking in central London, Mr Farage said: “I apologise for the timing and I apologise for the fact that it was able to be used by those who wish us harm.
“But I can’t apologise for the truth. And after all, this was a photograph your newspaper carried, this was a photograph that all newspapers carried, it is an example of what is wrong inside the European Union.”
He said the decision by German Chancellor Angela Merkel to welcome so many migrants into Europe has “created divisions between countries”.
He made his comments following his final speech on the campaign trail urging people to vote Leave in Thursday’s referendum.
Speaking to press from all over the world and Vote Leave supporters in Westminster, Mr Farage branded the EU “a big business cartel”.
He said: “We find ourselves, for the benefit of tariff-free trade, having to accept unlimited free movement of people.
“We find ourselves prohibited from making our own deals with the rest of the world.”
Mr Farage accused Brussels of usurping control and sovereignty from the UK, and imposing EU law which “is supreme”.
His voice rising with passion and pulling out his passport from his jacket and waving it in front of the microphone – a signature move by the Ukip leader – he declared: “We don’t even have a British passport anymore” – raising a clap from his supporters in the audience.
He said: “Let’s stop pretending what this European project is – they have an anthem, they are building an army, they have already got their own police force, and of course they have got a flag.
“At the end of the day tomorrow when people vote they have to make a decision – which flag is their’s?
“I want us to live under British passports and under the British flag.”
The Ukip leader accused the Remain side of being for “vested interests, the big corporate businesses” and the “political and bureaucratic class”.
He added: “This referendum is a really about something, this referendum is the people versus the establishment.”
Issuing a rousing rallying cry to his supporters, he ended his speech saying: “It is the vested interest, it’s the rich, it’s the big business, it’s those who are doing very nicely thank you against pretty much everybody else.
“We can do better than this. Tomorrow we can vote for real change, tomorrow we can vote to put power back in the hands of people, we can vote to take control of our country back, we can vote to get our borders back, we can vote to get our pride and self respect as a nation and who we are as a people back.”
He said voting Leave would allow Britain to become “democratic” and a “normal country” again.
Determined vote Leave supporters would “crawl over glass” to get to the ballot booths tomorrow, but the campaign needs “the non voters” to win the referendum, he said.
Continuing on the theme, Mr Farage accused David Cameron and George Osborne of “using the full apparatus of the state to back their campaign”.
He said the decision by the Government to send what he said were pro-EU booklets to every household, costing £10 million, amounted to an “abuse of position”.
Mr Farage would not be drawn on whether he will stand down as Ukip leader if Britain votes to stay in the EU.
He said that “whatever happens tomorrow I think that Ukip has an important role to play” in politics.
“I’ve no idea what happens after tomorrow, to David Cameron, me, or virtually anybody,” he added.
“I think this referendum has the potential to change politics in all sorts of extraordinary ways. All I care about is winning, it is what I came into politics for.
“That matters to me an awful lot more than whether I stay on or don’t stay on.”
He also ruled out calling for another snap referendum if the country votes very narrowly to Remain in the EU.
“I think we have got no choice, frankly, the question asked earlier is are there going to be accusations of cheating? Well, there might be.
“But the chances of this House of Commons this side of the next general election giving us another chance at voting on this, I would have thought, frankly, is pretty close to zero. This may well be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.”