Farage accused of ‘politics of fear’ on campaign walkabout
The Brexit Party leader received a mixed reaction as he visited Cumbria to meet ‘Workington man’.
Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage has been accused of profiting from the “politics of fear” by a voter as he visited Cumbria to meet “Workington man”.
The politician received a mixed reaction as he visited the region on Wednesday.
Right-wing think tank Onward named “Workington man” as a key swing voter for the Tories ahead of the election on December 12.
It described a “middle England” voter who is an older, white, non-graduate man from the North of England, with strong rugby league traditions and a tendency to vote Labour.
Mr Farage, who is the first of the party leaders to visit the town since it was named as a key target, claimed the idea was a “load of patronising cobblers” as he addressed a roomful of supporters in the Washington Hotel in Workington.
He was later confronted in the street by Labour voter Karl Connor, 38, in the nearby town of Whitehaven.
Mr Connor, from Egremont, said: “We don’t need you coming here. Why aren’t you standing as a candidate?”
He told the MEP he spoke with men in his rugby club about the 2016 referendum.
He said: “The people in there thought they were going to take back control, thought it was about Islam, they thought it was about things that it was nothing to do with at all, and you’re trying to profit from that politics of fear.”
Two security men separated the pair as they discussed the issues.
Mr Farage received a more positive reaction from IT engineer Nigel Metcalf, 47, a lifelong Labour supporter who voted to leave the EU, and his son John, 22, both from Sunderland, who posed for a selfie with the Brexit Party leader.
Mr Metcalf Sr said: “I think Nigel Farage has got exactly the right ethos and I’m certainly thinking of voting for the Brexit Party this time.”
One woman shouted “you’ve got my vote” as Mr Farage walked through the town.
Addressing supporters at the party event in Workington, a constituency which has been Labour since 1979, Mr Farage said: “In the past, you may remember Worcester woman was apparently going to decide the outcome of the election, and another one was Mondeo man, but this time, we’re told, it’s Workington man.
“Can I just say, this has all been dreamt up by a Conservative think tank in London. I think it’s a load of patronising cobblers to people in Workington.
“You’re going to get bombarded with press and political figures and I thought I’ll come as quickly as I possibly can to lay my cards on the table and talk about this election.”
Mr Farage’s speech was interrupted midway through by a woman who shouted “fascist” as she left the room, followed by a woman wearing a “Bollocks to Brexit” T-shirt.
Mr Farage acknowledged the Brexit Party could not win the election, and either Mr Johnson or Jeremy Corbyn would become prime minister.
But he gave the DUP as an example of the influence minority parties could have in Parliament and said Mr Johnson “changes his mind all the time”.
He said: “He’s very good at moving around with the wind and if we in the Brexit Party can get that wind strong, that says we wanted to leave the European Union and nothing less than that is good enough, he’ll change and we will get there.”