UKIP to fight county polls
THE UK Independence Party is preparing to field candidates across Suffolk and East Anglia in next year's county council elections.The anti-European Union party, which now has two MEPs in the region following the European Parliament elections in June, has already unveiled plans to put up candidates in all 56 parliamentary constituencies in the region at the General Election.
By Graham Dines
THE UK Independence Party is preparing to field candidates across Suffolk and East Anglia in next year's county council elections.
The anti-European Union party, which now has two MEPs in the region following the European Parliament elections in June, has already unveiled plans to put up candidates in all 56 parliamentary constituencies in the region at the General Election.
However, after testing the water in council elections in Waveney earlier this year, UKIP believes it can develop a raft of local policies to attract voters in the council elections. The party has appointed a local election organiser and is now looking for candidates to stand for county polls.
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Euro MP Jeffrey Titford, who lives at Frinton-on-Sea, said national membership had gone up from 8,000 to nearly 25,000 and the party was hoping the Prime Minister will decide to hold the General Election and county elections on the same day.
"We are going to benefit from that, and looking for county council representation is the logical extension for a political party that's growing," said Mr Titford.
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"If we can get our people out for the General Election, we hope that's going to reflect itself at the county council level."
Party strategists believe they have a groundswell of support in Waveney they can develop across the region. "I think all political parties are looking over their shoulder at us," added Mr Titford.
"That's where we are hoping to go now and build up in the next few months."
While best-known for their policy of pulling out of Europe, he denied they were a single-issue party and said they were drawing up local policies, which would be unveiled in the coming months.
Key areas are thought to include planning, farming, a rejection of more windfarm development, and opposition to the spread of regional government.
"We are moving on further than just withdrawal from the European Union, though that shapes our political ambitions," said Mr Titford.
"But policies we are working on will be looking at services at a local level and that's what we are going to build on."
Although UKIP picked up Labour voters in June's European poll, the bulk of its support comes from the Tories, whose chances of winning back control of Suffolk county council for the first time since 1993 will be severely dented by any surge in UKIP fortunes.