Hundreds flock to UKIP conference

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HUNDREDS of political party delegates, activists and MPs flocked to Skegness for the town’s first party conference in decades.

The UK Independence Party hosted its Spring Conference at the Embassy Theatre over the weekend, boosting accommodation bookings and trade within the town.

Mayor of Skegness Coun Steve Kirk, received a standing ovation for presenting a ‘robust and welcoming speech’ at the opening of the conference.

Coun Kirk, who is apolitical in mayoral duties, has welcomed the boost to businesses in the town created by the event.

He said: “It was good to see the town buzzing, which has got to be good news irrespective of political views. There were hundreds of visitors from all over the UK so hopefully some of them will come back for their holidays.”

UKIP’s press officer Gawain Towler said the party members ‘thoroughly enjoyed’ their visit to Skegness and the conference as a whole..

“The general mood of the party at the moment is very positive and that certainly had an impact on how the conference went,” he said.

“Overall we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and had one of the best conferences we’ve ever had.”

Politically, Mr Towler said that the party were keen to stop ‘banging on about Europe the whole time’ and discussed other key issues such as employment and the economy ‘to show what the party stands for rather than just what it’s against.’

However he felt the town could benefit from better transportation links and a large centrally located hotel if it was to attract more conferences in the future.

UKIP’s Chris Pain has also criticised East Lindsey District Council’s car parking charges, which he fears would be detrimental to the chances of future conferences being hosted in town. He claims other organisations are allowed to use the car park behind the Embassy Theatre at a discounted price for large events they host there whereas UKIP had to either pay full price or park elsewhere in the town.

Communications team leader at ELDC James Gilbert said the council did not offer discounts on parking and any offered to other organisations would have been negotiated as part of their overall hire of the venue. He claims the council is keen to encourage conferences in the town and felt the £3 per day or £5 per weekend rate available at the Festival Car Park would have been a ‘good deal’.