September 23 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Tuesday, March 4, 2014
Grassroot Lib Dems have been sent a five page dossier about how to take on the UK Independence Party - it includes the advice “not to panic”.
The leaked campaign briefing, which has been written ahead of the May local council and Euro elections, informs activists that UKIP has the ability to “de-stabilise the established dynamics of many local election campaigns”, adding that many were unnerved by an unknown in an already difficult electorial climate.
It also includes advice about how to spot a UKIP voter.
The junior coalition partner is defending 700 local council seats in England in the upcoming elections, and is expected to take a hammering in the European elections on the say day.
Last month Lib Dem chairman Tim Farron said the party faced the “fight of our lives” and stood to risk its 12 MEPs.
In the council elections taking place on the same day, “we are defending our final foothold” he said. “Our very presence in the European Parliament could be at stake,” he added.
Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has also challenged Nigel Farage to a television debate over Britain’s position in Europe ahead of the elections.
The campaign document said: “Many will feel strange to be lumped by UKIP supporters as part of ‘them’; part of the establishment as we have been instinctively on the side of those fighting Labour and Tory town hall bosses. Others will simply be repulsed by their anti-Europeanism and racism. But understanding where UKIP’s voters are coming from and how we should approach it are important. It’s important however not to panic.”
Under the heading “Spotting UKIP in Voter ID”, the document said: “Two ways of identifying potential UKIP voters are: Those who are ambivalent about their voting intention, but spontaneously mention immigration and those who often dismiss all parties of government (‘a plague on all their houses’)”
A Lib Dem spokesman said: “The Liberal Democrats are the only party taking the fight to UKIP. Their plan to pull Britain out of Europe puts millions of jobs at risk.”