UKIP leader Nigel Farage says he feels Boston is ‘troubled’ and has fears over the impact of more immigration – and for the town’s fishing industry.
He spoke to The Standard after appearing on BBC Question Time, which was broadcast from Boston High School on Thursday.
On the show Farage clashed with Tory junior defence minister Anna Soubry and Labour’s Emily Thornberry – as well as audience members – and faced the accusation that he was ‘scaremongering’ over immigration.
Farage – a Question Time regular – reckons there was a deliberate move to attack his position.
He said: “It was obviously a very heated argument. Did the audience reflect Boston? I think, to be honest, we put a solid question mark next to that.
“I think there was a general rounding...I maintain my position that the establishment are clubbing together to accuse us of scaremongering and scapegoating. We deny those charges.”
He said Romania and Bulgaria are the political ‘elephant in the room’ as their workers are eligible to come to the UK in January and believes the country – and particularly Boston – is not ready to welcome any more new arrivals.
He told The Standard: “We are not equipped in terms of infrastructure. Boston is feeling this rather more quickly than other parts of the country.”
He added: “It’s a slightly troubled part of the country I would say, sadly.”
Last week it emerged that Boston UKIP councillors Bob McAuley and Tiggs Keywood-Wainwright are set to leave the party after joining a breakaway group with ousted county leader Chris Pain.
Farage said the party’s National Executive deemed material on Chris Pain’s Facebook page to be ‘racist’ and that it would not be tolerated. He told the breakaway councillors ‘come to your senses or we will say goodbye,’ and added: “I am sorry for the voters that this happened but perhaps it is a necessary part of a political party growing up.”He also confirmed the party would not be happy with the breakaway group simply changing its name to United Kingdom Independence Group (UKIG).
On the back of the party’s election success in Boston at this year’s county council elections – snapping up five of the available seven seats – rumours persist that Farage will stand in the Boston and Skegness constituency in 2015 to take on Mark Simmonds.
Bookmaker Paddy Power even makes this the joint favourite consituency for the leader to stand for Parliament.
However he laughed off the suggestion once again, saying: “I have not made my mind up what I am going to do next time around. We are busy fighting the European election - you can ask me after that.”
One of the party’s existing MEPs for the area, Derek Clark, last week raised concerns that Boston’s fishermen could be put out of business by more rules governing how they operate.
Farage said he shares those fears. He said: “Boston is a fishing town. For how much longer I don’t know. I feel sorry for those men.
“The only solution for the Boston fishing industry is to take back national control of our waters.”