Ukip leader Paul Nuttall launches manifesto with a vow to cut net migration to zero at an acrimonious press conference

 
Mark Sands
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The UK will head to the polls on 8 June. (Source: Getty)

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall has resumed his party's election campaign with an ill-tempered press conference in which he vowed to dramatically slash numbers coming into the country.

Official figures released today showed net migration falling by 84,000 driven by an increase in emigration.

Business groups have already expressed concern at the figures, but Ukip today vowed to slash the numbers further and aim for zero net migration, effectively giving the UK a "one in, one out" border policy.

Reductions would happen over a five year period, Ukip claimed, and will include a moratorium on unskilled and low-skilled workers entering the UK.

Read More: Ukip is getting wiped out in the local elections as Tories gobble up seats

However, his manifesto launch almost descended into acrimony with journalists loudly heckled as they attempted to question Nuttall.

Speaking less than an hour before a nationwide minute of silence to commemorate the victims of the Manchester bombing, Nuttall said "it is not enough to light candles" to promote integration, and the Ukip leader was pressed on whether his comments were insensitive.

However, activists at the launch booed the journalists, shouting "Don't patronise us!" and "Ask a sensible question!"

And Ukip deputy chairwoman Suzanne Evans risked controversy by suggesting that Prime Minister Theresa May's time as home secretary means she must bear "some responsibility" for the Manchester attack.

Read More: Nuttall says voters will soon return to Ukip in "droves"

The Ukip manifesto commits the party to no tax increases, and reductions in business rates for the smallest firms, but it also included a handful of more unusual policies, including a promise of referenda every two years.

The party is promising to hold a vote every two years "on the issues gaining the highest numbers of signatures on approved petitions".

"The outcome of these referenda would be legally binding and included in the Queen’s Speech," Ukip said.

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