Nigel Farage has predicted there will be a “big change” in UKIP’s opinion poll ratings as election day edges closer.
A YouGov survey published in the wake of Mrs May’s shock election call put the party on 7% – UKIP’s lowest rating with the polling agency for four years.
Mr Farage told Sky News: “I honestly think that what you’ve seen in the last week are a significant number of UKIP voters listening to Theresa May’s message that if you don’t vote for her, Mr Corbyn and Mr Farron and the SNP will reverse the Brexit process and they’ve been scared by it.
“When they realise, as these weeks develop, that actually there is going to be a Tory landslide and they can vote UKIP because they want to have a strong voice to hold the government to account, I think you’ll see a big change in the current poll ratings.”
Mr Farage said the issue of immigration was another reason why there needed to be a “strong UKIP voice”, because Mrs May had “completely and utterly failed” to bring numbers down.
Confusion about whether the Tories would keep their pledge to get net migration under 100,000 in the party manifesto showed they could not be trusted on the issue, Mr Farage added.
Culture Secretary Karen Bradley told Sky News on Thursday morning immigration policy was “not about numbers”, but the PM later restated her commitment to the pledge.
On the subject of the UKIP leadership, Mr Farage threw his support behind incumbent Paul Nuttall, saying he was the right man to lead the party after a “difficult start”.
“What I’ve said is that I’ve known him for a long time, he’s a strong person and he’s going to emerge very well out of the next six weeks after what was a difficult start for him as leader of UKIP,” Mr Farage said.
“The real person is going to come through, I’m confident of that.”
On Thursday Mr Farage announced he would not be standing in the upcoming General Election on 8 June, and he repeated his reasoning that he could best influence the Brexit process by remaining an MEP.
“There will be no negotiations in Westminster whatsoever, they will not be part of this process,” he said.
“Yes, of course I want us to be out of those institutions, but we’re not out yet.
“We may have won the war, but we have yet to win the peace.”
Mr Farage has failed seven times to become an MP.