Joseph Watts, Political editor
Wednesday, December 5, 2012
The leader of UKIP has said the East of England will become a stronghold after a poll showed his party enjoyed more support in the region than it did anywhere else in the country.
The survey, carried out by Opinium, suggested 21pc of the electorate in the region supported UKIP, the UK Independence Party, before any other group.
It comes after successful by-election results for the party in Corby, where UKIP came third winning 14pc of the vote, and in Rotherham, where the party came second winning 22pc of the vote.
Now the party’s politicians are saying they hope to come first in the region’s elections for the European Parliament due in 2014.
UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “East Anglia is rapidly becoming UKIP’s strongest part of the country. This is in part down to the hard work of our representatives across the counties.”
The poll attempted to gauge support for political parties across the UK; finding that 38pc of people backed Labour, 29pc backed the Conservatives and 13pc backed UKIP.
Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats came in fourth place with just nine per cent. But an analysis of the regional breakdown showed UKIP’s support to be much higher in the East of England.
Of voters interviewed here 34pc backed the Conservatives, 30pc backed Labour and 21pc backed UKIP. The Liberal Democrats still scored just nine per cent, the party’s national average.
Stuart Agnew, UKIP’s member of the European Parliament for the East of England said: “UKIP polling at 21pc is very encouraging but not altogether surprising as the East of England has been strongly EU-sceptic for some considerable time thanks to the hard work we have been doing.
“We now regularly come second to the Tories in European Parliamentary elections and we hope to over take them in 2014. We are snapping at their heels.
“The voters are getting the message that the only party they can really trust, not just on European matters but on a whole range of other issues as well, is UKIP.”
He added: “We are the natural home for any voter who has had enough of the failings of the Lib-Lab-Con.”