UKIP has today announced that it will be holding its annual conference at Doncaster Racecourse on Friday September 26 and Saturday September 27. The venue is a stone’s throw from Ed Miliband’s North Doncaster Constituency.
In a statement released by UKIP they said the move was as a result of: “strong results in parliamentary by-elections in nearby Rotherham and Barnsley during the current parliament.”
Up to 2,000 party members are likely expected to come to the conference, the party claims this will be the biggest turnout ever. The fact the party has decided to hold the event in a Labour heartland is a sign that UKIP is aiming to lure more voters from the Labour Party and political left.
Earlier this year, conservative-minded activists commented on how the eurosceptic party was moving to the left. During the Wythenshawe by-election, UKIP’s candidate John Bickley released campaign literature that promised voters he would “protect [their] jobs and benefits”. The Guido Fawkes blog referred to the scenario as a ‘Red UKIP’ strategy, which also focused on ‘naming and shaming’ the millionaires in Labour’s shadow cabinet.
Responding to journalist Tim Wigmore on Twitter, UKIP Communications Director Patrick O’Flynn said of the move to host the event in Miliband’s town: “some might say it’s not entirely a coincidence Tim”.
UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall said: “We are taking the UKIP message straight into one of Labour’s most neglected heartlands, a part of the country it has taken for granted for far too long.
“This event will represent our firing of the starting pistol for the long general election campaign and will give the lie to any idea that we are only a threat to the Tories.
In previous years UKIP has chosen seaside venues, many of which had been abandoned years ago by the traditional parties.