UK Independence Party leader Paul Nuttall has been confirmed as the party’s candidate for the upcoming Stoke Central by-election.
On Thursday, New Media Central reported that Nuttall had been chosen but were awaiting a formal confirmation. With that confirmation released to the public domain, Nuttall spoke to the media, flanked by deputy leader Peter Whittle and party chairman Paul Oakden.
“I will raise the issues that the establishment parties would prefer to brush under the carpet from tackling the spread of radical islam to having pride in England, and that includes us having our own parliament,” he said.
“I am sick and tired of Englishness being the one national identity that’s not allowed to speak its mind. I’m English and proud of it. And unlike Labour I’m also proud of our flag.”
It will be Nuttall’s fifth attempt at winning a seat in Westminster, and if successful, will become the the party’s second MP. The Labour Party have not yet announced their candidate to replace the outgoing Tristram Hunt, who is resigning to take-up a post as Director of London’s Victoria & Albert Museum. Labour has held the seat since 1950, at that time holding a 66% share of the vote. In 2015 it was reduced to 17%, with UKIP on that occasion coming second, just over 5,000 votes behind Labour. The only other candidate to so far be announced is Godfrey Davies of the Christian Peoples Alliance.
The area of Stoke as a whole voted overwhelmingly to leave the European Union in last summer’s referendum, with leave winning by 65% of the vote, a result which UKIP believe gives them a platform that will propel them to success in this seat.
Today, UKIP members have flocked to Stoke to begin campaigning and canvassing. Upon the leaflets that are reaching homes in the constituency, Mr Nuttall is quoted as saying:
This by-election is about making your voice heard. Stoke has been forgotten for too long.
The establishment parties will go on cutting your services, sending money overseas and keeping Britain’s borders open if they are given the chance.
By lending me your support we can finish the job on Brexit, bring our money home and secure our borders. Things have really got to change around here.
The date of the election is February 23rd, the same day as the by-election in Copeland, which has been vacated by Labour’s Jamie Reed. Another longstanding Labour stronghold, the area also voted to leave the European Union. The UKIP candidate is local National Health Service worker Fiona Mills.