Is it possible that a party with no MP and fewer councillors than the Green Party could pull off a victory in Rotherham?
Rotherham is usually a staunch Labour town, but ahead of today’s by-election, many locals are in the mood for change
It is a ramshackle campaign office, with a loo that has yet to be plumbed in and two deckchairs for seating. But this little property is one of the busiest places in Rotherham, with a stream of volunteers coming in and out, and camera crews setting up outside.
The former clothes boutique – “two floors of fashion” is still written on the front window – is home to the UK Independence Party’s campaign in the South Yorkshire town. Today, Rotherham goes to the polls in a parliamentary by-election. That all the talk is about Ukip rather than Labour, which has provided the town’s MP since 1933, is a remarkable turn of events.
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The by-election has been called because Denis MacShane, who as a Labour MP at one point enjoyed a 71 per share of the vote, has stepped down in disgrace after he fiddled his expenses. The assumption until a week ago was that however much the town disapproves of his behaviour, it would return another Labour MP. “You could put a red rosette on a donkey and it would get voted in,” says Peter Downey, owner of The Master Barber’s Shop.
However, Lisa Duffy, who is running Ukip’s office, says: “We are on a roll.” She brandishes a cheque for £500. “I’ve received £8,000 in donations just to this office since Saturday.”
This surge in support follows The Daily Telegraph’s report that the Labour-run council in Rotherham had taken three children from their foster parents because the couple were members of Ukip.
Click source to read FULL report from Harry Wallop
Note: Lord Monckton is a Member of UKIP