Fed up voters ‘are turning to UKIP’

election debate UKIPEuro MP Loiuse Bours  believes voters are looking for a different choice and Blackpool could see its first UKIP councillor at the town hall next year. Below  ' Gordon Marsden and Paul Maynard

election debate UKIPEuro MP Loiuse Bours believes voters are looking for a different choice and Blackpool could see its first UKIP councillor at the town hall next year. Below ' Gordon Marsden and Paul Maynard

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Earlier this month UKIP made the break-through to Westminster with the election of Douglas Carswell at the Clacton by-election - and here in Blackpool the party has been gaining ground too.

At the European elections in May it secured more votes in the town than any other party, while it has come second in three recent local council by-elections.

MP Gordon Marsden at his office in South Shore.

MP Gordon Marsden at his office in South Shore.

The Waterloo by-election on October 9 almost saw Blackpool get its first UKIP councillor when John Braithwaite polled 372 votes, just 34 behind winning Conservative candidate Derek Robertson.

Louise Bours, one of three UKIP Euro MPs representing the North West, claims voters are “fed up” with the other parties and are looking for an alternative.

She told The Gazette: “We have been saying this for 12 months that people feel disconnected and not represented by people who don’t understand their every day lives.

“They see these people in London and think, ‘What do they really understand about my life? Nothing’.

Paul Maynard-MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

Paul Maynard-MP for Blackpool North and Cleveleys.

“When we campaign, especially in places like Blackpool, the response we are getting is phenomenal.

“People are saying they are fed up, that the other parties are just the same and they want a change.”

Ms Bours believes UKIP will snatch votes in Blackpool from both the Conservatives and Labour at next year’s local and general elections.

She said: “Our research is showing that actually we are taking votes from across the board – from both Tory and Labour.

“Quite a lot of our votes are from people who haven’t voted before at all, or who haven’t voted for 20 years or so.

“They are seeing something different and they are seeing common sense, and that is motivating people to go out and vote.”

She believes recent issues in Blackpool such as the closure of the Airport have left residents disillusioned and more than ever ready to “give something else a go”.

“There is a disconnect between the voters and the people in power,” she claims.

But UKIP has come in for criticism, particularly on its immigration policies which some feel are too extreme.

Not so, says Ms Bours who claims other parties are now following UKIP’s lead.

She said: “Our immigration policy is fair and sensible. We are saying we welcome immigration to this country but if we don’t need your skills, you can’t come here.

“But that should be done on a points based system.”

However Blackpool South MP Gordon Marsden warns UKIP’s representatives are “chameleons” who “pretend to be one thing and are another”.

Look closer he says, and people will find a different picture to the one being painted.

Mr Marsden said: “When you look at their policies – the fact they want more private investment in the health service, and the fact they want a ‘flat’ tax which would benefit the better off – it shows they are not people who have traditional working class values.

“Nigel Farage comes across as ‘blokey’ but he is a bloke in upper class clothing.

“They want to scrap the European arrest warrant and that would make it more difficult to deport foreign criminals, and they want to make it harder to stop dodgy firms exploiting immigrants which would have an impact on 
employment rights.”

He added Labour was looking at ‘smarter’ immigration controls to reduce the number of low skill migrants coming into the country.

Blackpool North and Cleveleys MP Paul Maynard believes voters wanted a sense of security from whichever party they cast their vote for.

He said: “Living in a democracy is a great thing, as it means everyone gets a chance to have their say.

“I think my constituents expect a hard-working, diligent MP who is close to the local issues and works hard on their behalf – and they respect that commitment.

“And at a time of rapid change, I know people are also looking for a sense of security at a national level, that what they have spent their lives working for is protected, and that the future they aspire to for themselves and their families can also still be attained, which is why I will always argue that the Conservatives are the party best placed to 
provide that security.”