Tory campaigner speaks of increase in Ukip support in Newport (35)
A TORY campaigner has said he has found a rise in support for Ukip on the streets of Newport.
The leader of the anti-European Union party’s Nigel Farage is set to visit the city for an anti-European Rally today, and yesterday the Argus reported former MP Mark Reckless, who is bidding to be named South Wales East AM for Ukip, said campaigners had received “an increasingly positive response” in Newport.
Conservative Newport City Council member for Allt-yr-yn Cllr David Fouweather said he had been struck by the swell in support for Ukip while campaigning for fellow Tory Matthew Evans, who is running for Newport West AM.
“We have knocked on hundreds of doors and we’ve found them (Ukip supporters) everywhere,” he said. “They’re even in Labour wards.
“And I’m not finding any support for Plaid Cymru or the Liberal Democrats.
“A lot of them have spoken about immigration.
“Ukip have got the momentum and they’ve got people fired up.”
Mr Farage – famous for his outspoken and, to some, controversial views – will be keynote speaker at a rally at Rodney Parade this evening, calling on voters to back the so-called Brexit movement in June’s referendum.
But despite the event being held in the constituency he is running in, Mr Reckless – who defected to Ukip from the Conservatives in 2014 but lost his seat in last year’s General Election – is not scheduled to speak at the rally.
Pro-EU Newport West MP Mr Flynn has heaped scorn on the Brexit movement, calling it “hilarious” that the only Labour representative at today’s rally – Brendon Chilton – was “an unknown parish councillor from a town 200 miles distant from Wales”.
Mr Chilton of Stanhope, Kent, is the general secretary of anti-EU pressure group Labour GO.
The Labour MP also said he believed there was “deep seated loyalty to Labour” in the city.
Writing on his blog the Labour MP said: “This is the core of the city’s DNA.
“Canvassing in the past two weeks has revealed new anger against the cruel cuts in ESA (Employment and Support Allowance) and PIP (personal Independence Payment).”
Also speaking at this evening’s event will be Ukip Wales leader Nathan Gill, who represents Wales in the European Parliament and is running for North Wales in May, as well as Conservative MP for Wellingborough and former Newport resident Peter Bone, his Tory colleague for Corby Tom Pursglove and Daily Telegraph columnist Simon Heffer.
Campaign group Stand up to Ukip Wales are also planning to stage a protest at the event.
Guto Davies of pro-EU group Unite Wales said: “Newport has a proud history of trade unionism and I have no doubt people there will reject these so-called common sense politics.”
Pollsters have predicted Ukip could win as many as seven seats in May’s Assembly election.