Blyth could be the next target for UKIP in their mission to conquer Labour heartlands.
Strategists for Nigel Farage’s party have announced they are to open an office in Blyth town centre as they predict a huge swing toward UKIP in the 2015 General Election.
But if they are looking for a parliamentary seat they will have a fight on their hands from Blyth’s Labour MP Ronnie Campbell.
And Mr Campbell said he would never be tempted to switch allegiances to the party – despite numbering among the MPs who asked Labour for a referendum on Europe earlier this year.
He said: “I am Labour through and through, just like a stick of Blackpool rock. I will die Labour.”
UKIP MEP Jonathan Arnott said his party would rise as the main challengers to Labour in May and could capture a number of North East seats in 2020.
He added the party planned to open an office in Blyth “just off the high street”.
He said: “I think it is objective to say that the Labour party has been complacent in the North East.
“So what will UKIP do? We will see a number of seats in which UKIP will become the main challenger to Labour moving forward.
“I would be very optimistic about the prospect of taking several seats in the election in 2020 in those seats where we have seen UKIP move into second place.
“In terms of winning seats in the North East [in 2015], I would say there are places where we have a chance: Hartlepool, for example; we are clearly already in second place in Redcar; South Shields where we have just taken a council seat; Blyth.
> It should be noted though, that in the council elections earlier this year UKIP lost one of the two seats they had on South Tyneside Council (the surviving one wasn’t up for re-election). Across the rest of Tyne & Wear, UKIP won a grand total of 0 seats. Their challenge back in May therefore amounted to them losing 50% of what they started with. Difficult to spin that as a triumph…
“All of those are areas where I think that if we have the right campaign and things go right in terms of the media and nationally then they will come into place next year.”
He added: “I would love to see a poll in Blyth, I have a gut instinct we will do well there.
“Obviously we have not released our target seats yet but if I had to make a prediction as to where we would target in the North East my prediction would be Hartlepool.”
> Actually, UKIP have already gone on record as targetting Hartlepool. Pay attention Mr Arnott !
Source – Newcastle Evening Chronicle, 03 Oct 2014