Skegness will be a ‘very high up target’ for UKIP at the next election – according to delighted party leader Nigel Farage.
Mr Farage spoke exclusively to The Standard about his hopes for the area after his party netted numerous seats on Lincolnshire County Council this month.
With some many seats goign to UKIP, speculation has been rife that Mr Farage might stand in the Boston and Skegness constituency and take on MP Mark Simmonds at the 2015 General Election.
Mr Farage laughed those suggestions off and insisted he has not yet decided where he will stand, but said the party will strongly target this seat.
He said: “There’s all sorts of speculation of what I might or might not do. The truth is I haven’t made up my mind.
“It’s going to be a very high up target seat. If we can win at local government we can win at parliamentary level that’s the lesson of the rise of the Liberal Democrats.”
Mr Farage said he had been interviewed by BBC’s Andrew Neil on the night of the county council elections and planned to get some sleep before returning to television studios in the morning.
However, he said news of UKIP’s success in Boston put paid to those plans, saying: “I couldn’t turn the telly off I was just watching the results come in.”
He added: “I was confident that we would make a breakthrough but to have effectively swept the board in Boston and Skegness was an astonishing result. It really is a reflection of how let down people feel.”
He believes that it would be wrong to rule UKIP’s success in Lincolnshire, where it is now the main opposition party in the county, out as a protest vote.
He told the Standard that recent national newspaper reports that suggested a senior Tory official had described grassroots party members as ‘swivel-eyed loons’ was significant and showed the main parties are not in touch with their supporters.
He backed his new councillors to use ‘old fashioned politics’ to represent their voters and help the party to continue to grow further in this area.
Mr Farage said: “We must not run before we can walk, I learned that as a member of the European Parliament.
“I would hope that our councillors do a good job of representing the people and trying to make their lives better. If they do that they will have been a success.
“It is old fashioned politics, very much so. People are crying out at local, national and European level to connect with them.
“The whole of Lincolnshire was always true blue but now it has got a slightly more purple tinge.
“The SNP were called a protest vote but now they are governing Scotland. A lot of people are rejecting the political parties and are voting for UKIP.”