UKIP sets sights on Preston seats

IDEAS: UKIP: Deputy leader and MEP Paul Nuttall
IDEAS: UKIP: Deputy leader and MEP Paul Nuttall
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UKIP is planning to flood the country with candidates nationally and locally in next year’s elections, its deputy leader said.

Leaders have promised there will be a candidate in every constituency for the general election and every ward for local elections, as the party launches a march on the north.

Leaders have claimed there will be a candidate in every constituency for the general election and every ward for local elections, as the party launches a march on the north.

In this year’s local elections in Preston, UKIP failed to win a seat.

However, North West MEP and deputy leader Paul Nuttall said his party was determined to take seats from Labour and target areas including Preston, following their narrow defeat in Heywood and Middleton last week.

“Losing by 617 votes, what we have realised is the old disenchanted Labour voters are people who feel as if the new Labour party doesn’t represent their views anymore,” he said. “The Labour front bench aren’t like them at all and people are looking for something new and are coming en masse to UKIP.

“That’s why next year we will be targeting areas like Preston and the surrounding areas.”

Mr Nuttall said the party, if elected, would adopt an “Australian-style” immigration policy, allowing only people with the “skills this country needs” into the UK.

He also said education was currently “by wealth and not ability”, and called for a return to academic selection with “a grammar school in every single town in Britain”.

Other policies would include leaving the EU, slashing foreign aid, and taking those on the minimum wage out of taxation.

He said: “There will be a candidate in every constituency for the general election and in every single ward for the local election.”

In May this year, the LEP reported that Preston UKIP council candidate Liz Mahon was being investigated by party chiefs over a string of comments left on Facebook, including posts criticising Nigel Farage for paying tribute to Nelson Mandela and calling halal food ‘sick evil satanic’.

UKIP members later refused to speak to the LEP at the Preston election count in May after the story emerged.

The party later said no further action would be taken in the case, which Mr Nuttall said he was not familiar with, but added the comments sounded “absolutely wrong”.

Mr Nuttall added: “We will always be transparent, if we get a fair crack from the media.”