The 650

Austin Mitchell's 37-year reign in Great Grimsby is ending, and Ukip's may be beginning.
Featured, The 650 | 26th September 2014

Great Grimsby: Ukip's new Northern heartland?

After the European elections in May, Nigel Farage sent a text to Victoria Ayling, Ukip’s candidate for Great Grimsby, assuring her the seat would be one of the party’s “top targets”. Now she intends to throw “a purple kitchen sink with Nigel in it” at the party that reigns in the area – Labour.

Great Grimsby is another seat where Ukip are showing how much of a threat they are to Labour’s working class vote. As our recent profile of Thurrock showed, the caricature of Ukippers as disaffected country clubbers is long outdated.

When Douglas Carswell becomes Ukip’s first elected MP next month, the damage Ukip are doing to the Conservative Party will be brought into fresh focus, but Grimsby is full of the working class voters Ukip disproportionately attract.

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Ukip has more support in Thurrock than any other seat in the country.
Featured, The 650 | 21st September 2014

Thurrock: Ground Zero for Labour's Ukip crisis

The first pale rays of September sunlight glance upon a quiet stir of activity outside the station. Stall owners are setting up for Grays Market, talking little as they hoist awnings across the short thoroughfare that makes up this town’s high street.

As commuters begin marching through from the station, and college students blearily amble past, the market stretches slowly into life. In the throng, there is a cacophony of cockneys selling fruit, Sikhs touting mobile phone accessories and an Indian man with a gold tooth merrily presiding over a veritable emporium of label-less tracksuits.

He has owned a stall here for ten years. “This place has changed a lot,” he observes. “The people aren’t the same and business is worse. There are no youngsters round here any more because there’s nothing to bring them in. Also, you used to get all English people here – now it’s mainly foreign and mixed-race people.

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