Watch: Nigel Farage questioned on Brexit during visit to Clacton
PUBLISHED: 17:39 24 April 2019 | UPDATED: 07:38 25 April 2019
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage brought his campaign for the European elections to the former UKIP stronghold of Clacton in a bid to boost its support in leave-voting East Anglia.
And he promised other political groups that the Brexit Party was here to stay – he told a crowd of hundreds in front of the town's pier that it had been set up to smash the current political system.
He warmed up the crowd telling them: “Clacton is the most Euro-sceptic and patriotic town in the country, well done you!”
And he added: “On May 23 I want you to go out, not to vote as a protest (although there is much to protest about) but I am asking you to go out and vote with a positive agenda in your mind. I want you to go out to vote knowing we can win this election.
“Knowing that this can be a first fundamental step towards changing and reshaping politics in this country.
“In this country we have two major parties who serve no one but themselves and their own career interests. Politics is broken in Britain and the only people who can fix it are not those on this platform. Sure we can put our heads above the parapet, but we need you to help us, to support us, to join us, to spread the message to put these posters up on your front doors.
“We want you to help us change politics for good – and we can do it I believe the time for that change is now. Britain needs the Brexit Party.”
Speaking later, Mr Farage said: “There are 10-20% of the country who want to have the referendum overturned and carry on as members of the European Union.”
He went on to say that opinion polls were showing massive leads for leaving the EU without a deal. When challenged he said: “Every single opinion poll, both ComRes and YouGov shows every single region in England and Wales now supports leaving with no deal.”
When asked where they'd been published, he said: “Everywhere, The Telegraph, the London Standard and every single mainstream national publication over the last fortnight. It's there, but many have chosen not to look at it, but it's there.”
He said there was one poll three months ago that had suggested Remain was in front, but nothing recently.
According to the poll tracking website whatukthinks.org every single poll this year from YouGov, ComRes, Populus, Deltapoll and Kantar asking a straight remain/leave question has put remain in front – except for a Deltapoll on February 11 which had them tied.
The last time leave was ahead in a national poll asking this question was in April last year.
Crowds lap up Nigel Farage's speech at Clacton
Hundreds of people turned up for Nigel Farage's rally outside Clacton Pier.
There was some dispute about how many hundreds – with estimates varying between 400 and 1,500 – but one thing was certain, there wasn't room for many more people in the area!
With the event on a working day with children back at school, it was not perhaps surprising there was a significant number of retired people there – but there also seemed to be a reasonable age distribution.
Many of those at the rally were clearly local – cementing Clacton's reputation as UKIP (or should that now be Brexit) Central – but some had travelled to hear Mr Farage. I came across two politicians from Ipswich as soon as I arrived.
There was certainly the feel of a religious revival meeting at the rally, and Mr Farage knows how to play the crowd – inviting hisses and boos as he mentioned Michel Barnier or Jean-Claude Junker.
The mention of Anna Soubry's name provoked cries of “traitor” from several people in the crowd.
But it all felt reasonably good humoured – a woman nearby who had been calling “fake news” when Mr Farage raised one point asked my colleague to use her camera to take a picture of her with her hero in the background a few minutes later.