UKIP launched their campaign for the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election this weekend with leader Nigel Farage saying he is convinced they will finish second.
The party, which supports withdrawal from the European Union and a clampdown on “unfettered” immigration, has chosen former Wythenshawe man, John Bickley to fight the seat.Mr Farage visited the constituency today (Saturday January 26) to throw his weight behind Mr Bickley, but said the party faced an uphill task because of the short notice given for the election.
He said: “The problem and the real scandal of our democracy is that this constituency is typical of so many is that ther are 17,000 postal votes. Labour called a snap by-election and you think it’s on the 13th of February – it isn’t. This election starts on the 2nd or 3rd of February because that is when 17,000 postal voters will get their letter and it is making the conduct of these by-elections quite farcical.”In other by-elections when the ballot boxes were opened we were neck and neck with Labour but we were behind the postal votes because we didn’t have time to set fire to the campaign. That is going to be the problem here, but we are going to have more activists in Wythenshawe and Sale East than we have ever had in a by-election before.”
Campaigning for the the Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election has started with bookies tipping the Euro-sceptic UKIP to finish second.
Labour are odds on favourites to hold the seat. Their ruling National Executive Committee will shortlist candidates on Wednesday and party members will have the final say at a selection meeting on Friday (January 24).