UKIP is preparing for an assault on Aylesbury at next year’s general election after coming first among Vale voters in the European poll.
Leader Nigel Farage has included the constituency in a list of a dozen towns he thinks the party has a chance of winning – despite current Tory MP David Lidington currently enjoying a huge majority.
He said: “Aylesbury is one of our target seats – we’ve had successes at district council and county council and (UKIP candidate) Chris Adams is very well known locally.We are also vehemently opposed to HS2, it’s totally the wrong set of priorities and this the wrong thing for the area.”
Local UKIP councillors echoed Mr Farage’s views and believe anger over HS2 will also gain the party votes.
Mr Adams, who will again stand as the party’s candidate in 2015 having been beaten soundly five years ago, said: “The political landscape since the last general election has totally changed.People don’t trust politicians any more and are fed up with the political classes not representing local people.
“People in Aylesbury don’t like HS2 and we have issues like the failed Aylesbury Vale Plan and building on greenbelt land. I think people generally don’t feel that they are in control, or that they can have their say about what they want.”
He added: “I am looking to fight a very clean campaign.”
Phil Gomm, the newly elected UKIP chairman for Aylesbury and Buckingham, said: “I’m sick to the teeth of those people that say we are a bunch of clowns. We are actually a bunch of very hard working people.I think people will vote for UKIP because we actually have a chance of being able to give people what they want.
“All of our councillors are local to the area, and even though we do not control the council we work extremely hard for our constituents.
“The Conservatives do not have their finger on the pulse anymore.”
At the 2010 general election UKIP’s Chris Adams trailed behind in fourth place in the Aylesbury vote, gaining 3,613 votes to Conservative Mr Lidington’s 27,736.
And Mr Lidington said that he could understand why UKIP had done so well in the European elections.
“I don’t think there’s room for any sort of complacency.
“From what I have heard on the doorstep people said that they were making a protest.
“Sometimes it’s about immigration, sometimes it’s about gay marriage. The stats in the UK are showing that the economy is recovering quite strongly, but people have been through five or six years of tough times for the family economy and they feel bruised.”
“My only surprise is that Nigel Farage has waited so long to say this, particularly given my job in government.
“I have never taken anyone’s vote for granted and I’m not going to do so now.”
Voters in Aylesbury Vale helped UKIP enjoy unprecedented success in the European elections.
UKIP was the most popular party among voters in the Vale, gaining 16,870 votes (35.3%) from the district, beating Conservatives on 15,051 (31.5%). Labour came third on 5,547 (11.6%), with the Lib Dems trailing in fourth with just 4,197 (8.7%).
The votes contributed to UKIP’s triumph in the South East ward, Four UKIP candidates including leader Nigel Farage were sent to Brussels, three Tory and one each from Labour, Green and Lib Dem. UKIP won the national vote, the first time a national election has not been won by the Conservatives or Labour in 100 years - and the first time a party with no MPs at Westminster has achieved such a result.
Vale district councillor Phil Yerby, who defected to UKIP from the Conservatives said: “It’s clear that in both European and local elections UKIP have made strong gains.
“This is clearly the case in Aylesbury Vale in the EU elections. Yet, whilst we are pleased, I know we have a long way to go.
“In less than a years time there will be local elections in Aylesbury and of course the General Election. In that time we must continue to work incredibly hard to build respect and earn trust from an even greater number of people.”