North West Wales

UKIP opens Shotton office to fight Alyn and Deeside seat

Nathan Gill
Image caption UKIP MEP Nathan Gill will use the office along with party candidate for Alyn and Deeside, Blair Smillie

UKIP has opened its first premises on a Welsh high street with an office in Flintshire.

The Shotton shop has been the party's base for two weeks as it is targets the local Alyn and Deeside ward in next year's general election.

The office will be used by MEP Nathan Gill and local candidate Blair Smillie.

The ward has been chosen following the party's success in Flintshire in May's European elections when it came top, polling 33% of the vote.

The current MP, Labour's Mark Tami, has a majority of nearly 3,000.

He said his party cannot take anything for granted and will be "on the doorstep fighting for every vote".

'People's army'

In total, UKIP is aiming to target two or three seats in Wales.

The party opened a branch in the south Wales valleys on Friday, and around 30 party members are due to be in Pontypridd town centre on Saturday handing out leaflets.

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Media captionBBC Wales political editor Nick Servini asked voters in Shotton for their views on UKIP

Mr Smillie, great-grandson of Robert Smillie - a founder of the Labour Party, said: "Politics is not complicated. A lot of politicians make it complicated, it's not.

"It's all about the people and the representation of those people and we need the people with all the skills who are not involved in politics to come to us and be with us to develop this people's army which is UKIP.

"In the European elections there was one issue which was coming out of Europe and controlling immigration.

"We have got between now and May to educate people and let people know about what UKIP is all about which is common sense policies in all areas of politics."

'People feel strongly'

The local UKIP branch has 40 members, up from 20 a fortnight ago. It wants to get 1,000 people to pay the £15 annual membership in the constituency by the time of the general election.

Mr Tami's strategy in dealing with any threat from UKIP will be to try to focus on claims about the importance of the EU for large local employers like Airbus and Toyota.

He said: "We have got so many companies that are reliant on being in Europe. That is what we will make very clear. Their [UKIP's] policies would endanger thousands of jobs.

"Immigration is an issue. I am not going to say it's not an issue because it is. People feel strongly about it.

"All the political parties have to address that and explain our immigration policies and how we can reassure people."

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