THE leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP), Nigel Farage, vowed his party would overhaul the Liberal Democrats to become the third party in British politics by the end of the year.

Speaking at a public meeting in St Ives last Thursday, Mr Farage also attacked the Conservative-Lib Dem Coalition, saying the country was being run by "college boys who were out of touch".

The MEP was in buoyant mood after it emerged that former St Ives resident Roger Helmer MEP had defected to UKIP from the Conservatives on the previous Saturday.

A county councillor, Lister Wilson, a former Conservative who lost the whip, had joined the party on the day of the St Ives visit.

The meeting, at Burgess Hall in front of a large audience of mixed political persuasions, provided Mr Farage with the opportunity to showboat one of the party's biggest successes in local politics - the control of Ramsey Town Council.

The Huntingdonshire town provided a first for UKIP - its first majority (nine of out of 17 town council seats) and its first mayor, Councillor Lisa Duffy.

Mr Farage said: "An entire generation or more of career politicians of all parties has sold this country down the river.

"They have betrayed our birthright, given away our independence, freedom and liberty. But we are the resistance.

"We are the fightback and we are going to win back, for our children and grandchildren, that which was fought for, defended and handed down to us."

During the question and answer session, a member of the audience accused UKIP of being "a party of open racists".

The charge was strenuously denied by members of the panel, including UKIP's Huntingdon's prospective parliamentary candidate Paul Bullen and the chairman of the Huntingdon and South Cambridgeshire branch, Joe Webster.

Mr Webster told The Hunts Post: "There is a perception outside the party that UKIP has a racist agenda. This is simply not true. Immigration in moderation is good for the country, but too much too quickly has the opposite effect."

At the meeting, Mr Webster, chairman of Huntingdon and South Cambs UKIP branch said: "Our local MP is a chap called Jonathan Djanogly. I have to say he must have some positive qualities, but I have never, ever heard anyone say anything positive about him."

Mr Bullen said: "Jonathan Djanogly voted against the referendum on Europe we were promised by the Tories. He didn't even live here until he was forced upon us by the Tory elite because he comes from a wealthy family and the Tories wanted support."

Mr Djanogly, due to run against Mr Bullen in the 2015 General Election, told The Hunts Post: "UKIP are ready to complain about everything and rarely have the answers.

"When times get hard some people can take the easy option, but to listen to the siren calls of a party like UKIP is not something I would recommend."