Ukip Hartlepool conference: Nigel Farage claims town will be among party’s first seats in Westminster

Nigel Farage told his Ukip supporters in Hartlepool today “you ain’t seen nothing yet”.

The Ukip leader was one of the speakers at the party’s North East conference at the town’s Borough Hall.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage

UKIP leader Nigel Farage

He said Hartlepool was one of the areas where the party stood the best chance in the forthcoming election with its candidate Phillip Broughton.

Mr Farage said: “We have a young, energetic, professional candidate. It is one of the seats where we will get our first elected representatives to Westminster from the North East of England.

“We need to concentrate our resources on seats we have a real chance of winning.”

The Ukip leader said there was also another seat in the region which he plans to concentrate efforts on, but said he was keeping it under wraps for the minute.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage at Hartlepool Borough Hall, this morning.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage at Hartlepool Borough Hall, this morning.

He said in many of the North East’s towns and cities there has been a one-party state.

“UKIP is now the opposition party to Labour and we are going to bring democracy back to the North East of England.”

According to a recent Hartlepool Mail pre-election survey, 31 per cent said they would like to see the Ukip leader moving into 10 Downing Street in May.
Mr Farage, who also took part in a dinner at The Grand Hotel last night, came ahead of Labour’s Ed Miliband (30 per cent) and current Prime Minister David Cameron (26 per cent).

Of the 171 readers who took part in the Mail’s survey, 83 per cent cited health as the most important issue ahead of the election, no doubt a reflection of the ongoing campaign to transfer services back to the University Hospital of Hartlepool from North Tees.

The Ukip leader headed to Hartlepool this weekend after claiming the town is “the best place” to gain a regional breakthrough.

He said last year that he considered Hartlepool to be “interesting” as he earmarked areas where his party could gain seats.

As the build-up to May’s General Election hots up, Mr Farage, joined supporters at Ukip’s North East conference today.

Other speakers at the event this morning included Phillip Broughton, Hartpool’s Ukip Parliamentary Prospective Candidate and Councillor Norman Dennis, the first Ukip councillor for South Tyneside Borough Council.

This afternoon there will be a number of other speakers including Paul Nuttall, deputy leader of Ukip, who will also take part in a question and answer session.

Speaking on his last visit to the region, Mr Farage told the media in Gateshead: “We will not win where Labour has a massive majority, but we can find marginals or other seats where we can make a difference. Hartlepool is very, very interesting. Watch Hartlepool. It is an interesting seat for us in 2015.

“We have a base there, it is our longest established branch in the North-East. The North-East is our fastest growing membership area, and if I had to pick I’d say Hartlepool was an area where we can make a substantial impact. We will have to look hard after the elections at what our targets will be in 2015, but Hartlepool is very interesting to us.”

In 2010, Ukip took just seven per cent of the vote in Hartlepool and Iain Wright retained his seat.