Should Nigel Farage have stuck to his guns? Newark might just have voted him in

Nigel Farage will never know whether Newark was set to join the ranks of Bermondsey, Hamilton or Bradford West in the political atlas of great by-election upsets.

Yet if the mood in the Nottinghamshire town’s Georgian Market Place was anything to go by yesterday the decision not to contest the vacant seat could go down as one of missed opportunity rather than inspired tactical retreat.

Butcher Michael Thorne, 48, was an unabashed fan of Mr Farage having spent 15 minutes in the Ukip leader’s company at a recent market day.

“He is a down-to-earth bloke and he doesn’t beat around the bush. It’s about time we had someone like that,” he said. “It’s about British people for British jobs as far as I’m concerned. We need to support as many local people as we can,” he added.

Customer Terence Dilger, 65, was pondering what to have for his dinner. He was less equivocal in voicing his support for Mr Farage.

“I think he is right on immigration – it is as simple as that,” he said. “When I first came to Newark it was an ordinary town. Now it is a League of Nations. You feel like a stranger in your own town. Even if he didn’t win he would have got his message across.”

According to the 2011 Census figures Newark and neighbouring Sherwood remain remarkably homogenous. From a population of 114,000 some 94 per cent describe themselves as white British. The number of residents from EU accession states was just 1.8 per cent – just over 2,000 people and lower than the English average. But that is not the perception.

 

Shopper Yvonne Mastin, 61, was happy to repeat one of Ukip’s slogans she had read on a leaflet recently put through her door. “We do want Britain back to how it used to be. It’s got totally out of hand,” she said. “I believe in immigration if they have got something to bring,” she said.

Over at his stall selling mobility scooters was Kevin Walker, 54, also a Farage fan. “A vote for him is a vote not for the other two,” he said. “There are too many of them [immigrants]. Whoever said they are not taking our jobs is talking rubbish. If you go to the fields around here see how many of them speak English.

“It’s the same anywhere you go now. I do a lot of care homes and they are all foreign staff. It’s not because we won’t do the jobs it’s because they won’t kick up a fuss and they are cheaper. They will work long hours, but it is not right,” he added.

Ukip is currently looking for a candidate to stand in the seat in which it came fourth with just 3.8 per cent of the vote in 2010.

The Conservatives have selected Robert Jenrick – international business director at Christie’s - in November following the Panorama sting on the Tory incumbent Patrick Mercer. He was unavailable for comment today.

Doing media in the town centre however was Labour’s Michael Payne, a Nottinghamshire councillor. The party won the seat in 1997 but the following year the winning candidate Fiona Jones became the first MP for 115 years to be excluded from the House of Commons due to electoral fraud – a conviction that was quashed by the Court of Appeal.

Mr Payne said he was unconcerned by Ukip’s calculations. “It makes no difference to me whether Farage stands or the deputy leader. The simple point is the policies remain the same,” he said.

But the Farage phenomenon was not playing well with everyone. Angela Ptaszynska, 26, had moved with her family from Lodz in central Poland eight years ago. She now ran her own business and her partner worked in a factory.

“I don’t know him [Farage] actually. I don’t watch English TV,” she said. Although she regarded Newark people as “very nice” she could sense change. “It worries me a little bit. I am worried about how it will be in the future - especially for my son.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
newsAnother week, another dress controversy on the internet
Life and Style
Scientist have developed a test which predicts whether you'll live for another ten years
health
Life and Style
Marie had fake ID, in the name of Johanna Koch, after she evaded capture by the Nazis in wartime Berlin
historyOne woman's secret life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
News
news... and what your reaction to the creatures above says about you
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales & Customer Service Executive - Call Centre Jobs

£7 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing? Do you want to work in...

Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - Covent Garden, central London - £45k - £55k

£45000 - £55000 per annum + 30 days holiday: Ashdown Group: Finance Manager - ...

Ashdown Group: Systems Administrator - Lancashire - £30,000

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: 3rd Line Support Engineer / Network ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Developer

£26000 - £33000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Web Developer is required to ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn