Ukip breakthrough in North ‘a question of when’ - Farage

UK INDEPENDENCE Party leader Nigel Farage has insisted the party’s long term prospects in the North will be strong whatever the result of Thursday’s Oldham by-election.

Nigel Farage campaigning in Oldham

Critics have suggested a failure to win against a struggling Labour Party this week after a series of near misses in recent years will raise questions over whether Ukip can secure a breakthrough in the North.

Mr Farage told The Yorkshire Post: “Let’s be frank, this is a very safe Labour seat and if we were to take this it would be sensational but I get the strong impression after the last couple of days in the constituency that it’s going to be close.

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“Whether we win it or whether we don’t quite win it the implications across the whole of the North of England longer term are very significant.”

He continued: “If we don’t win this one we will wait for the next one. It will happen, it is just a question of when.”

Mr Farage is due to address a meeting in Leeds tonight to rally support for a ‘leave’ vote in the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.

He said: “I think mobilisation of a grassroots army is very very important in this referendum indeed and my impression having been round the country doing this is that thousands of people feel activated and motivated by the very act of us holding these meetings.”

Two campaign groups have emerged on the ‘leave’ side of the debate - Leave.EU endorsed by Ukip and Vote Leave - raising questions over which will be designated as the official grouping in the referendum campaign.

After previous tensions between the two camps, Mr Farage adopted a conciliatory tone tonight.

He said: “From my perspective I support everybody who takes this view and I’ve supported both of the camps bidding for designation but I’m doing my best along with others to act as an honest broker to get the two sides together.

“I think we would be better in the leave campaign if we had a united front but I am determined to do my bit to make that happen.”