UKIP’s candidate in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election has urged local people to back him, saying “you cannot trust” the three main parties.
Paul Nuttall, who’s an MEP for the North West region, said in an interview with Saddleworth News today that the by-election has been “built on a pyramid of lies.”
He said: “Whether it’s Labour lying on their own election literature which has caused this sorry scenario, or whether it’s the Liberal Democrats lying over tuition fees and reneging on their manifesto pledges, or whether it’s the Tories lying over our relationship with the EU, or immigration, or crime.”
When asked why voters should trust him and his party, Mr Nuttall replied: “We’re pretty straight-talking. Put it this way, there’ll be nothing on our election literature, or any promises that I make, which I won’t stick to. What you see is what you get.”
The by-election follows the decision by High Court judges to strip Labour’s Phil Woolas of his victory in the general election, for making false statements in campaign leaflets.
Mr Nuttall said that in general he wasn’t keen on courts being involved in the democratic process, but added: “Maybe this is an opportunity to clean up politics… However, the experience that we’ve seen even since this election has been called, I don’t really hold out much hope.”
On the issue of the deficit, Mr Nuttall was strongly critical of the last government: “Labour for the past 13 years behaved like a teenage girl who got hold of mummy and daddy’s credit card, maxed it out, and then went and got another credit card and maxed that one out. They’ve left this economy in so much debt, they’ve left it in a mess, and I’m afraid that cuts have to come.”
He criticised the growth of the public sector since 1997, and said that’s where savings should be made first: “Are services better? Are roads cleaner? Do we have more park-keepers? No we don’t. What we’ve created is a whole client class, a whole layer of bureacracy, middle-managers, politically correct non-jobbers. I’m in favour of these people being shifted, not out of work, but into the private sector. Because that is the most effective and most productive part of the economy. What we shouldn’t have is any cuts to frontline services.”
Mr Nuttall spoke out in favour of investment in local railways, and said that if elected he’d support “one hundred percent” plans to re-open the disused Standedge Tunnels and build a new station at Diggle, saying: “We need to get people back onto the railways even more than we do now.” He also called for the widening of motorways including the M62.
UKIP wants Britain to pull out of the EU. On that point, Mr Nuttall said Brussels and Strasbourg “affect everybody’s lives.” He said policies such as fortnightly bin collections and the past closures of Post Offices came about as a result of European directives.
Mr Nuttall also underlined the EU’s role in immigration: “You’ve got the coalition talking tough on immigration and talking about putting caps on immigrants. Well, I’m sorry, they can put a cap on non-EU migrants, but they can’t stop people from Poland or Latvia or Estonia, or any of those countries coming here willy-nilly. Why? Because we’ve signed up to the freedom of movement of peoples.”
I interviewed Mr Nuttall at UKIP’s campaign office in Clarksfield today. We also talked about schools, tuition fees, the impact of the new Tesco at Greenfield, and the issues of crime, anti-social behaviour and police numbers.
You can listen to our conversation in full by downloading it from here.
An interview with the Deputy Prime Minister and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is here, one with Labour leader Ed Miliband is here, and you can hear from Conservative Chairman Baroness Warsi here.
Saddleworth News will be interviewing the other candidates in the coming weeks. They are, in alphabetical order, Debbie Abrahams of Labour, the BNP’s Derek Adams, Kashif Ali of the Conservatives, Green candidate Peter Allen, David Bishop of the Bus Pass Elvis Party, Nick “The Flying Brick” Delves from the Monster Raving Loony Party, and Liberal Democrat Elwyn Watkins.
To read full coverage of the by-election so far from Saddleworth News, click here.