UKIP sets its sights on South Tyneside

Nigel Farage in King Street, South Shields, in 2013. A planned return-visit to the town fell through last month.
Nigel Farage in King Street, South Shields, in 2013. A planned return-visit to the town fell through last month.

UKIP in South Tyneside says it is ready for battle in the forthcoming General Election despite a couple of recent setbacks, a party boss believes.

The UK Independence Party became a major player in borough politics after its candidate Richard Elvin finished second in the 2013 Parliamentary by-election in South Shields.

The party now has two representatives on South Tyneside Council and is hoping to increase that tally at May’s Local Elections.

But the party’s impetus locally was stalled somewhat following a fractious gathering of party members at the Red Hackle pub in Jarrow back in January.

Meanwhile, a much-hoped-for visit by party leader Nigel Farage to the Hedworth Hall, in South Shields, fell through last month.

Now John Wright, secretary of the UKIP South Tyneside branch, has issued a rallying call to the party’s 90 members locally.

He said: “The hope is that we can field candidates in every ward, but we’ll have to see if that is achievable. We were really disappointed that Nigel’s visit didn’t transpire. 
 “As for the repercussions at the meeting at the pub in January, there was a lot of misinformation passed on about it.

“Despite that we are ready for battle, and just at the moment we are contacting every one of our 90 card-carrying members in the borough to get them stirred up and re-energised.

“What we need to remember is that the forthcoming General Election and Local Elections will be as important as any for many a year. We intend to be prepared.”