Nigel Farage: 'Ukip won another seat in Westminster because we listen to people'

Mark Reckless became Ukip's second ever MP in 21 years on Friday

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Nigel Farage claims the key of "listening to people" has unlocked Ukip's victory in winning their second House of Commons seat in Rochester and Strood on Friday.

The party leader wrote for The Independent that while campaigning on Rochester residents' doorsteps on behalf of the Tory defector and now-Ukip MP Mark Reckless, he met people who "desperately wanted to vent their frustrations and hear common-sense solutions to the problems they face in their every day lives."

Farage also claimed that Labour leader Ed Miliband, Prime Minister David Cameron and Emily Thornberry - the Labour MP for Islington South and Finsbury who was forced to resign from the shadow cabinet after tweeting a photo of three England flags on a house with a white van parked outside - had no idea about the "real lives of real people" as he claims that they have rarely seen outside their parliamentary offices and "cosy constituencies".


He said: "If you want the secret about how we won in Rochester… there it is. Listening to people, and not just because you have to, because you’re an MP, or MEP or a politico.

"But because you need to listen to people, to hear what they want, and build these concerns into sensible policy recommendations. No more so is this true of the collapsing Labour vote."

Ed Miliband seemed to have echoed his sentiments on Friday in discussing MP Thornberry leaving his cabinet when he said that he thinks and feels "respect" when he sees a white van.

He told Channel 4 News: "What is going through my mind is respect. Respect is the basic rule of politics and I'm afraid her tweet conveyed a sense of disrespect."

Farage stated that "foot soldier" campaigning is what drew him to politics and that he was shocked to hear that residents did not get visits from Conservative doorsteppers, who were hoping for a win in the by-election with candidate Kelly Tolhurst.

He claimed that residents received him "rather warmly" with some inviting him into their homes and even asking if they could take selfies.

The resignation of Reckless from the Conservative Party on 27 September led to the Rochester and Strood by-election that he won by 16,867 votes (42.1 per cent) and will now sit as a Ukip MP for the constituency in Westminster.

Douglas Carswell was re-elected as Ukip's first ever MP in 21 years in his constituency of Clacton after he announced his resignation from the Conservative Party, which triggered a by-election that he won by 59.7 per cent of votes last month.

However, veteran Labour MP Dennis 'The Beast of Bolsover' Skinner, 82, made a show of Reckless and Carswell's suggestion to deport long-term European migrants by listing all the medics originally from Syria, Malaysia, Netherlands and Nigeria who attributed to his successful heart bypass surgery in 2003.

In Friday's Rochester and Strood by-election count, it was found that Ukip gained a 28.3 per cent swing from Conservative voters.

Tolhurst fell short of election in Rochester and Strood with 13,947 votes (34.8) while Labour candidate Naushabah Khan received less than half of that number with 6,713 votes (16.8 per cent).

The Liberal Democrats got the lowest ever number for a government party with 349 votes.