[Ed: we received the following contribution from Bill Etheridge’s office, following our appeal to the leadership candidates to lay out their stall for our readers.]
We’re always at our best when we’re fighting a cause
UKIP leadership hopeful Bill Etheridge MEP has said the role of UKIP post referendum is for UKIP “to be the party for the national interest” as he told party members in Torquay, “we have to get the economy right.”
His speech came as former Labour MP Sir Tam Dalyell revealed Ken Clarke believes there are ‘more than 100 Tory MPs wandering around, dazed, desperately wanting to remain in Europe (sic).’
Speaking at the hustings, which was once again boycotted by bookies favourite Diane James, he said the party must become united behind one leader, not one faction.
“Nigel led us from the front and we absolutely went at it and we won an historic victory,” the West Midlands MEP said, talking about the 2014 European Elections.
“That same night, we won council seats – I actually won my council seat on the same night.
“Then the big one came: the referendum, Then we were at our best. We united behind a cause, we fought hard and we fought for our country. And we won.”
As the party reaches a fork in the road where it must decide which direction it goes in post Brexit, Cllr Etheridge said the party needed to remain because “we have a new cause.”
“The British people need a new voice. A fresh, exciting, dynamic voice. New ideas, not the same old tired rubbish and consensus politics; not this great big surge to the middle of the road.
“Ladies and gentlemen, if you stand in the middle of the road, you get run over.
“Let’s look to be different. This is a cause in the national interest: we have to get our economy right. We have to say to the British people. ‘not only will we free you from the EU, not only will we free you from burdensome regulation but we will free you and future generations from debt.”
Cllr Etheridge has issued a challenge to Mrs James to take part in a debate with him rather than touring parts of the country in her roadshow.
“The great advantage [these hustings] have given us is the opportunity to meet the members and, more importantly, hear different questions everywhere we go.
“Every part of the country has got a different concern,” he said.
So far Mrs James has not responded to the request to take part in an event with her fellow MEP and colleague.
[His office also provided us with the link to Bill Etheridge’s speech in Torquay.]