Nigel Farage today accused the three main political parties of ‘smearing’ Ukip as he launched an assault to win a haul of seats in the Midlands.
The Ukip leader, who was on the campaign trail for the European and local elections in Dudley, hit out at David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband saying they were ‘running scared’ after controversy erupted over the party’s new billboard campaign, which featured staff from the party posing as voters.
He told the Express & Star that the other parties were ‘desperate’ because of Ukip’s high poll numbers and impact on the street the Eurosceptic party is making.
He said: “We are criticised for using our staff, for using actors. Who do they want us to use, robots? The political class is desperate to attack us because they are scared.
“Yes the billboards are blunt, yes they are provocative, but they are true.”
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He was in the region to bolster support for Ukip candidates in the upcoming local and European elections.
And he also spoke out about the recent furore after Ukip council candidate Andre Lampitt posted racist comments on Twitter.
He said: “We don’t hold the monopoly on weirdos. There are odd people in all three parties of the established political classes who do and say stupid and unacceptable things. We are trying our hardest to stamp this out.
“There was a Lib Dem candidate that went to jail for a racially aggravated offence and there was not a whisper of it. Can you imagine the furore if that was a Ukip candidate?”
And he said: “The political classes are running scared. A friend said to me ‘you know Nigel, they know they can’t properly oppose what you are saying so they are attacking’. Are they smearing us? Yes they are.”
Mr Farage also condemned the Government’s decision to downgrade Stafford Hospital and accused them of ‘giving up’.
He said: “What happened at Stafford Hospital was disgraceful but the way that the Government has hoisted the white flag and surrendered over it is equally as disgusting in my view. You should go in and sort it out. Simply taking away the services is flying the white flag and is outrageous.”
During his visit to the Black Country yesterday he also met with families of the Birmingham pub bombings. He told the Express & Star an investigation into what happened should be re-launched.
“We have seen a new inquiry into Hillsborough started so why not into the Birmingham bombings?
“Yes, we have had the peace agreement but there are still people in the West Midlands and indeed in Northern Ireland who feel they have had no justice at all.
“They want access to things like papers and reports, and that to me seems a totally appropriate and reasonable request.”
Mr Farage also revealed his thoughts on former Wolverhampton South West MP Enoch Powell, famed for the ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech, saying he had been ‘right on many things’.
He said: “He was right on many things but unfortunately it was the form of language which he used which went against him.
“I think it was a tragedy as he could have had a tremendous political career.
“He was not a racist. He loved India, was fluent in Urdu and adored and did a lot for the sub continent.
“But he thought immigration should be controlled. If he was a live today God knows what he would have thought about it all.
“Back then he thought 50,000 immigrants a year coming over was too much and now we have 500,000.”