UKIP deputy leader on walkabout in town
Paul Nuttall MEP visited Jane Collins MEP’s new office on Wellgate, before going on a walkabout with the parliamentary hopeful.
He spoke to journalists inside the campaign HQ — facing none of the protests caused by party leader Nigel Farage’s visit in February.
Mr Nuttall backed Ms Collins’ campaign, saying past polls and her service as MEP gave her a “track record” in the town — despite not being a local.
“Finishing second lets you know there’s a market [for Ukip] out there,” he told the Advertiser.
“There are voters who feel left behind by New Labour and haven’t voted in 20 years.”
He added that the North Yorkshire-born miner’s daughter was doing “a fantastic job” as a Eurocrat.
The deputy leader also attacked Labour councillors over the child abuse scandal, saying a Ukip council or MP “would clean up the mess left” by that party.
“The perpetrators need to be brought to book, as do those who covered this up,” he said.
Asked whether Ukip was using the misery of victims for political gain, he added: “Labour used the misery of children for 15 years and they should hang their heads in shame.
“I think if people accuse of that, then they’re looking at the wrong target. This is a political issue and it happened on Labour’s watch.”
Mr Nuttall said Ukip aims to oppose Labour across northern England, replicating success in Rotherham.
“I think that will appeal to people because there’s been no opposition for years, so politicians have got lazy and taken their voters for granted,” he said.
“We’ve already had successes on Rotherham Borough Council — we hope to get more councillors and two hard-working MPs too.”
Speaking on Monday morning, Mr Nuttall was due to address voters at a public meeting in Silverwood Miners’ Welfare Club later the same day.
“I’m travelling around the country to do these meetings, which is novel because the other parties aren’t doing it,” he said.
“It gives us a better idea of what’s going on in these communities and we can put over what we stand for.”
Mr Nuttall talked up Ukip’s manifesto, which was only revealed in full this month.
Independent think tank the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR) has agreed that the party may fund some spending increases with savings made by leaving the EU, reducing foreign aid and other policies.
But the body warned that quitting Europe might have severe costs in the future, potentially wrecking Ukip’s budget.
Mr Nuttall remains confident. “We’re the only party in the history of British politics to have our budget signed off by independent experts,” he said.
“We want to put money in the NHS and in people’s pockets and it’s all fully costed — unlike other parties, who pluck figures from all over the place.
“We’re also the only party saying we want to bring immigration back to sensible levels.
“We’re just too small a country to allow a city the size of Hull to come in every single year.
“We can’t afford to continue on this road, but while we’re members of the EU we have to.”
The North West MEP says Ukip’s immigration policies are relevant in Rotherham, where immigrants make up just eight percent of the population.
“This problem will come to Rotherham because these people have to go somewhere when they arrive,” he said.
“It puts pressure on the NHS and now the Local Government Authority is saying there aren’t enough spaces in primary schools.”
Mr Nuttall repeated Mr Farage’s claims that opponents of Ukip in Rotherham are mainly Labour radicals.
“I have to ask what these people are afraid of,” he said. “Why do they get to judge what’s right and wrong? They don’t represent most Rotherham people.”