UKIP claimed today their Westminster seats in next week’s General Election could be in “double figures”, saying the party was now “the opposition across the country.”
Speaking at the launch of the party’s fisheries manifesto in Great Grimsby, deputy leader Paul Nuttall said it was “obvious” that the party was focusing on constituencies “down the Eastern Coast of England.”
Dismissing the latest polling by Lord Ashcroft in the top target seat, Mr Nuttall said the party’s strategy was about building up a core base in specific areas and building on local election success.
“Look at places where we have councillors elected and where we have good, solid branches who are getting out and working hard and laying down markers in those seats,” he said.
“We’ve really begun to understand that local involvement is the Trojan Horse to Westminster and we’ve had to get councillors elected first before people trust you with their vote in the General Election.”
“But equally, what’s important in this election for us is that we burst the dam of British politics and by doing that what we hope to do is to make ourselves the opposition to Labour right across the Midlands and in the North of England. We hope to finish second in up to 150 seats. This is all about laying the foundations.”
Both Mr Nuttall and Mrs Ayling were scathing about the latest polls for Great Grimsby which put the party in second place, behind Labour and only one point ahead of the Tories, calling the headline numbers “fundamentally flawed”.
“Let me tell you something about Ashcroft polling.” Mr Nuttall said. “Firstly, they take the ‘don’t knows’ and weight them back to 2010, when the Tory candidate was Mrs Ayling.
“He had us way behind in Eastleigh, when Diane James (the party’s candidate) went on to finish just two thousand short of taking that seat. In Heywood and Middleton Ashcroft actually has us a week before the election 18 percentage points behind: we finished just 617 votes short of taking that seat back in October.”
“I do not trust Ashcroft’s polling: frankly I would take his polls, rip them up and throw them out because they’re not worth the paper that they’re written on.”
Mrs Ayling also denied her campaign had peaked too early and said the results bore no relation to the response she and her team had had on the doorstep adding they had enough “pledges to win the seat.”
Referring to the range of polls produced by the Tory donor, Mrs Ayling said the numbers were designed to “skew” the perception of the success of the party “and should be treated with the contempt they deserve.”
South East MEP and Fisheries spokesman Ray Finch was even more optimistic, saying: “it would be easier to think of seats where we don’t think we can win.
“We are now the opposition across the country.”
Referring to a picture of the Labour and Conservative candidates in South Thanet who posed together over the weekend, Mr Finch joked that they were holding up a leaflet saying “save us from UKIP” showing that “if you vote Labour you get Tory and if you vote Tory you get Labour.
“It’s the establishment against the radicals: we’re the radicals.”
The party’s leader Nigel Farage also held a press conference this morning in Hartlepool. where he said polls were “under-predicting” the party’s popularity.
Speaking in the North East town, he said: “You’re actually talking in areas like this (Hartlepool) a very, very significant percentage of the Labour vote that is by the day coming to UKIP.
“If we can ally that to getting non-voters and the people who’ve been disengaged… then get the tactical vote from the Conservatives, then these seats become winnable.”
He compared the Labour votes in the north of England to a “rotten window frame” which if UKIP pushed at, would collapse.
“We’ve got momentum up here in the north,” he said. “Don’t think it can’t happen because it can.”
Breitbart London understands that polling done for the party internally shows their strongest seats are in seats traditionally thought of as safe Labour constituencies.
These include Rotherham, where the central campaign will this week be injecting cash into the campaign of Jane Collins, including ad vans and newspaper adverts.