UK Independence Party deputy leader Paul Nuttall claimed it was the main opposition to Labour in the North and the Conservatives in the South yesterday amid growing doubts it will enjoy a major breakthrough on May 7.
With the latest polling giving Ukip a 13 per cent share of the vote, the party was forced to fend off suggestions it will be squeezed at the General Election as supporters return to the major parties.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage spent the day speaking to voters in Ramsgate, Kent, as part of his campaign to win the seat of South Thanet which recent polls suggests is becoming a three-way race with Labour and the Conservatives.
Mr Nuttall told Sky News: “The Conservatives from what I’ve found are pretty much dead from Birmingham upwards.”
He added: “There’s only one challenger here, and look, we’ve been growing up here in the north of England for a number of years now.
“In by-election after by-election we’re proving ourselves to be the only opposition to Labour, whether that’s in Barnsley, Rotherham, Heywood and Middleton, which we lost by just 617 votes back in October, in Wythenshawe, we are finishing second everywhere and in fact we are proving ourselves to be the opposition and we’ve got the Labour Party on the run.”
The election campaign has stretched Ukip and with its main asset, Mr Farage, needing to devote so much time to his own efforts to secure a seat the party has not been able to use him to rally support in places like Rotherham.