UKIP exploits Tory jitters

AS Conservative jitters increase over the growing support for the anti-European UK Independence Party, UKIP's East of England campaign hit the streets of Woodbridge yesterday.

By Graham Dines

AS Conservative jitters increase over the growing support for the anti-European UK Independence Party, UKIP's East of England campaign hit the streets of Woodbridge yesterday.

MEP Jeffrey Titford said he could not believe the reception his party was receiving across the six counties in the East of England electoral region. "We have reached a position which perhaps we never dared hope we would.

"The party could have 10-12 seats nationwide – and the impact that will have in Brussels and Strasbourg will be dynamite."


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He was joined on the campaign trail in Woodbridge by Robert Owen, an arable farmer with 800 acres at Occold near Eye. "Britain joined the Common Market for trade, not to be consumed in a political takeover with a loss of sovereignty and our constitution," said Mr Owen.

The Tories went on the offensive yesterday amid concerns that tens of thousands of their natural voters who are deeply suspicious of a federal Europe were deserting to UKIP. Opposition leader Michael Howard said voters had a "clear choice" on June 10 poll – "at one extreme there are the candidates from the UK Independence Party who represent a party that wants to pull out of the European Union altogether."

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He said UKIP's three MEPs had "frequently failed to vote in the European Parliament on issues that are vital to Britain.

"At the other extreme are Labour and the Liberal Democrats - who want to transfer even more power from Britain to Brussels, setting Europe on the path to a single European State.

"The Conservative Party rejects both these extremes," added Mr Howard, saying the Tories supported EU membership but were determined to "put Britain first."

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