Kilroy-Silk, man of the people, plays the patriotic card in front of the television

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Indy Politics

Robert Kilroy-Silk last night displayed all the confidence of a man surfing a political wave as he switched on to the England v France football match in his hotel room.

Robert Kilroy-Silk last night displayed all the confidence of a man surfing a political wave as he switched on to the England v France football match in his hotel room.

Less than a mile away the East Midlands count before the European Parliamentary Elections - at which he is standing in his latest permutation as UKIP candidate - was commencing, but Mr Kilroy-Silk was busy showing the world where his patriotic loyalties lay.

"I'm just about to watch the game," he said nonchalantly as he sat down with his wife, Jan, and his fellow UKIP compatriot, Derek Clark, who had stepped down as first preference a mere seven weeks ago to allow Mr Kilroy-Silk the star position.

Mr Kilroy-Silk's high profile campaign for UKIP has been credited with boosting the party's fortunes since the former Labour MP joined its ranks.

But arriving at Lings Forum Leisure Centre in a suave blue suit and tie he looked less certain of the night's outcome.

He had turned up earlier - before the football - to register his name and some had found his television-friendly manner overwhelming. One sceptic said: "All the candidates were queuing up when he barged in and his camp had a bit of a hissy fit."

But if Mr Kilroy-Silk was not certain of victory, his UKIP entourage was.

Mr Clark and Peter Baker, the No.4 UKIP contender, both conceded Kilroy-Silk's celebrity status had elevated their hopes for the party.

"The celebrity element has made a difference, as well as his connections with the media. What he's done is opened up our profile. No one would talk about us until Kilroy-Silk joined," said Mr Baker.

Mr Clarke conceded he may never have watched one of his shows, or indeed think much of Joan Collins, Mr Kilroy-Silk's glamorous supporter, but he said what was important is that he was a genuine bloke who you could enjoy a pint with. He dismissed the idea that Mr Kilroy-Silk's dismissal by the BBC for his inflammatory comments would besmirch the reputation of the party.

"When I first met him I knew I was standing with someone who speaks for truth and not political correctness."

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