Brighton and Hove Green party infighting could leave way clear for UKIP councillors - or even MP, party claims (From The Argus)
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Brighton and Hove Green party infighting could leave way clear for UKIP councillors - or even MP, party claims
UKIP candidates accused council bosses of making a “pig's ear” of Brighton as anti-fascist campaigners heckled visitors at their party meeting.
New European election candidates said the party is looking to get their own councillors in at Brighton and Hove City Council at the next local elections and they are hoping to get a UKIP MP voted in within the Brighton and Hove area too.
There was a strong police presence as 30 protesters from the Unite Against Fascism and the Stand Up To UKIP campaign groups heckled those making their way into the party’s European election campaign meeting at Portslade Town Hall.
The evening featured question and answer sessions with the MEP hopefuls Janice Atkinson, a former Conservative Parliamentary candidate, and Ray Finch, a Hampshire county councillor.
Inside the meeting the pair were quizzed by a crowd of more than 100 people on party policies, immigration, housing, independence from Europe and sentencing for sex offenders.
They also addressed accusations that the party was racist and xenophobic.
Speaking to The Argus following the two-hour event, MEP candidate Ray Finch said: “We've had scores of people here tonight, which shows people are listening. We had people inside who came to make their point against us in a respectable and democratic manner, which was great.
“But the problem is the fascists outside. Whether they are left or right, the only difference is the length of their hair. They are not interested in listening or discussion, just closing down debate.”
Asked about UKIP's intentions for Sussex and Brighton and Hove in the 2015 General Election, Cllr Finch said: “Seeing what's been going on at the council is an incentive for us to target the city, definitely.
“The Greens have made a pig's ear of Brighton and Hove and haven no idea how to run the place. They have conned people into thinking they are competent in running a council but we can see now they are not.”
UKIP's Janice Atkinson added: “I know Mike Weatherley in this seat, we were Torys together, but he has a slim majority. We are the opposition on West Sussex County Council and have hopes for the rest of Sussex now too. We just need to convince people if they vote UKIP, they get UKIP.”
A spokesman for the Stand Up To UKIP campaign said: “UKIP likes to present itself as a party of the people, but tonight we showed that many people are ready to oppose it.
“UKIP is run by a wealthy ex-banker but wants to con ordinary working people into believing it stands for them. By scapegoating migrant workers, women, LGBT people and other minorities UKIP thinks it will win support, but in Brighton and elsewhere this politics of hate is being rejected.”