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Farage comes calling as bosses vow to field 40 candidates in local elections
SUPPORT for the UK Independence Party is surging in Worcestershire – with the party on course to field dozens of candidates in May’s local elections.
Of the 57 seats up for grabs at County Hall, about 40 are expected to have candidates from the party.
It follows Thursday’s dramatic by-election in Eastleigh, where UKIP came second behind the Liberal Democrats, leaving the Conservatives trailing in third.
The party is so intent on making an historic breakthrough, leader Nigel Farage has planned a visit to Worcester in April to hold a public Q & A at the Guildhall.
UKIP says it will contest every seat in Worcester and Mid-Worcestershire, as well as more in the Malvern constituency and in Wyre Forest. Bosses say for the Worcester area in particular, they’ve got “more applicants than vacancies” due to a surge in interest.
The Worcester branch’s membership topped 100 in December, and updated figures due out soon are expected to show further large increases.
Carl Humphries, who runs the city branch, said: “Our membership is double what it was one year ago.
“In the last county council elections four years ago we had one or two candidates, and now I reckon we’ll have people standing for about two-thirds of seats or more.
“People are signing up and are really interested.
“It’s gone through the roof.”
UKIP currently has no representation at Worcestershire County Council or the Guildhall, but is hoping to cash in on the mainstream parties’ suffering in the polls.
A survey out last month suggested support for the party nationally will cost the Conservatives 51 seats at the next general election, which could inadvertently put Labour back into power.
UKIP support is hovering about the 16 per cent level, compared with just three per cent in 2010.
Mr Farage will make an appearance at the Guildhall on Wednesday, April 3 from 7pm and the public can attend for free.
After the event, he plans a walkabout session around the city.