Boston’s Labour Party has vowed to take on UKIP and show up its policies in light of a poll with put the Eurosceptic party well ahead in the constituency.
Borough councillor Paul Gleeson was one of the people asked for their views in the Survation poll – which put UKIP on 46 per cent, Conservatives on 26, Labour on 21 and the Liberal Democrats on just two per cent.
He felt the questions were geared towards a positive result for UKIP but doesn’t doubt - following their strong showing at the county council elections – that they have a lot of support here.
He believes the figures are a concern, and a challenge, saying: “They do worry me. There are people in Boston who have found that life isn’t as it was for them but UKIP aren’t the answer to that - they aren’t going to make that better.”
He said people are yet to know UKIP’s policies – or candidate – and feels they will do little to ease issues such as high rent and low pay in this area, adding: “We must fight and show what the true impact would be on the people of Boston.”
Coun Gleeson believes UKIP are ‘scapegoating’ migrants and have not yet offered their true policies on issues such as the NHS.
He said that in the recent Newark by-election both Labour and Conservative activists detected a ‘anti-UKIP’ sentiment on the doorsteps - and feels some Labour voters turned to the Tories to keep UKIP out.
He hopes Labour will be able to position themselves as the ‘anti-UKIP’ alternative in Boston – with ex-mayor Paul Kenny selected to contest his third election for the party.
He added: “We have got to show we have a candidate who really wants to represent Boston and to make it a better place to live in.”
Coun Gleeson believes the desire to ‘kick the authorities’ is behind the UKIP surge – as well as a reaction to Mark Simmonds’ departure.
He told The Standard: “I know people had gone off Mark Simmonds - he must have seen the writing on the wall.”
He added that he thought Mr Simmonds’ parting comments – in which he criticised the expenses system – would ‘hurt’ the party.