Nigel Farage has hinted he will purge Ukip’s MEPs ahead of the 2014 elections to the European Parliament, which he hopes to win.

“We’ll be getting ready for our selection process for the European elections in 2014, which I hope will be an improved selection process on what happened last time round,” he said.

After laughter from the assembled press he added: “Well it couldn’t be worse could it?”

“We’ll be looking for any by elections that come along, wherever they take place in the UK, and we will pounce on them.”

Shortly before the Eastleigh by-election Ukip MEP Marta Andreasen accused Farage of being a "Stalinist dictator" and defected to the Tories.

In 2011, David Campbell Bannerman, a former Ukip leadership candidate and party chairman, quit to return to the Conservative Party.

And in 2009 MEP Tom Wise was sentences for two years in prison for expenses fraud.

Farage was not the leader of Ukip at the time of the 2009 European elections, having relinquished control to Lord Pearson in order to focus on winning a seat in the House of Commons.

However after a comic performance in the 2010 general election, in which he infamously was unable to remember the contents of his party’s own manifesto, Pearson stepped down. He admitted he was "not much good" at party politics and Farage made a return.

One likely candidate for election in 2014 is Diane James, the Ukip candidate in Eastleigh who humiliated the Tories and came close to pulling off a shock win.

SEE ALSO: Crisis For Cameron As Ukip Beat Tories And Lib Dems Win WATCH: Hutchings' Bizarre Exit From Eastleigh Count NICE TRY: Conservatives Spin Loss As Victory For Coalition

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  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates (left) after the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where he won the by-election. Left to right: Mike Thornton, Lib Dem, John O'Farrell, Labour, Danny Stupple, Independent and Diane James, UKIP.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Monster Raving Loony Party candidate congratulates the Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton and his wife Peta as they arrive to hear the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where it was expected Thornton will be announced the winner of the by-election.

  • Liberal Democrats Hold On In Eastleigh; UKIP Tops Conservatives

    EASTLEIGH, HAMPSHIRE - MARCH 01: Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates his win with party leader Nick Clegg at the Hampshire Cricket County on March 1, 2013 in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The Liberal Democrat party managed to retain the seat of ex-Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne however UKIP managed to beat the Conservatives to second place. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Liberal Democrats Hold On In Eastleigh; UKIP Tops Conservatives

    EASTLEIGH, HAMPSHIRE - MARCH 01: Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates his win with party leader Nick Clegg at the Hampshire Cricket County on March 1, 2013 in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The Liberal Democrat party managed to retain the seat of ex-Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne however UKIP managed to beat the Conservatives to second place. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Liberal Democrats Hold On In Eastleigh; UKIP Tops Conservatives

    EASTLEIGH, HAMPSHIRE - MARCH 01: Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates his win with party leader Nick Clegg at the Hampshire Cricket County on March 1, 2013 in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The Liberal Democrat party managed to retain the seat of ex-Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne however UKIP managed to beat the Conservatives to second place. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Liberal Democrats Hold On In Eastleigh; UKIP Tops Conservatives

    EASTLEIGH, HAMPSHIRE - MARCH 01: Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates his win with party leader Nick Clegg at the Hampshire Cricket County on March 1, 2013 in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The Liberal Democrat party managed to retain the seat of ex-Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne however UKIP managed to beat the Conservatives to second place. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Liberal Democrats Hold On In Eastleigh; UKIP Tops Conservatives

    EASTLEIGH, HAMPSHIRE - MARCH 01: Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates his win with party leader Nick Clegg at the Hampshire Cricket County on March 1, 2013 in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The Liberal Democrat party managed to retain the seat of ex-Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne however UKIP managed to beat the Conservatives to second place. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Eastleigh by-election

    Diane James, the UKIP candidate with Mike Thornton after beating the Conservative party candidate Maria Hutchings into third place in the by-election at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    Diane James, the UKIP candidate celebrates after beating the Conservative party candidate Maria Hutchings into third place in the by-election at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire. Left to right: Mike Thornton, Lib Dem, John O'Farrell, Labour and Danny Stupple, Independent.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Conservative party candidate Maria Hutchings leaves the count at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire without making a coment after caming third after the Lib Dems and UKIP in the by-election.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates with his wife Peta after the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where he won the by-election.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Conservative party candidate Maria Hutchings at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where she came third after the Lib Dems and UKIP in the by-election.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    Prime Minister David Cameron and Conservative candidate Maria Hutchings leaflet drop residential homes, before the imminent by-election in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The by-election has been called as its former MP, Chris Huhne, resigned after pleading guilty to perverting the course of justice over claims his ex-wife took speeding points for him in 2003.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    Chancellor George Osborne wears a high visibility jacket as he makes a visit to the Prysmian Group factory and speaks to (L- R) employee Raj Guru, factory manager Steve Price, CEO Paul Atkinson and Conservative candidate Maria Hutchings in the constituency of Eastleigh, Hampshire. The Conservative party minister visit to the energy and telecom cable maker was to meet the party's candidate Hutchings ahead of the Eastleigh by-election on February 28 to elect a new MP, after Chris Huhne was forced to resign.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton kisses his wife Peta as they arrive to hear the expected declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where it was expected he will be announced the winner of the by-election.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton and his wife Peta arrive to hear the expected declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where it was expected he will be announced the winner of the by-election.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton and his wife Peta arrive to hear the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where it was expected he will be announced the winner of the by-election.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates with his wife Peta (centre) and family after the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where he won the by-election.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton hugs his wife Peta as they arrive to hear the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where it was expected he will be announced the winner of the by-election.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Monster Raving Loony Party candidate congratulates the Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton and his wife Peta as they arrive to hear the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where it was expected Thornton will be announced the winner of the by-election.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton and his wife Peta arrive to hear the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where it was expected he will be announced the winner of the by-election.

  • Liberal Democrats Hold On In Eastleigh; UKIP Tops Conservatives

    EASTLEIGH, HAMPSHIRE - MARCH 01: Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates his win with party leader Nick Clegg at the Hampshire Cricket County on March 1, 2013 in Eastleigh, Hampshire. The Liberal Democrat party managed to retain the seat of ex-Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne however UKIP managed to beat the Conservatives to second place. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The Liberal Democrat candidate Mike Thornton celebrates (left) after the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where he won the by-election. Left to right: Mike Thornton, Lib Dem, John O'Farrell, Labour, Danny Stupple, Independent and Diane James, UKIP.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    Conservative supporters share a packet of mints while waiting for the declaration at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    Labour leader Ed Miliband speaks to former Liberal Democrat voters during his visit Eastleigh in Hampshire where he met prospective parliamentary candidate John O' Farrell (right) during the by-election campaign.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    A general view of the ballot papers being counted at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    A general view of the ballot papers being counted at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where the by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where a by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where a by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where a by-election was held today.

  • Eastleigh by-election

    The first ballot boxes arrive for counting at Fleming Park in Eastleigh, Hampshire where a by-election was held today.

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