James Cleverly tells Clacton to avoid Nigel Farage's 'smoke and mirrors' campaign

James Cleverly has told people in Clacton to avoid Mr Farage's 'smoke and mirrors' campaign
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Home Secretary James Cleverly has told residents of Clacton to avoid the "smoke and mirrors" campaign being run by Nigel Farage to become the area's MP. The seaside town is being contested by Reform UK's leader after he announced his decision earlier this week to run for a seat in the House of Commons.

Huge crowds met the outspoken politician for his campaign launch in Clacton with people shouting 'We love you Nigel'. But his campaign was left overshadowed when a woman threw a milkshake over him on the steps of a nearby pub. The woman has since been charged by Essex Police over the incident.

Polling by YouGov suggests the Conservatives would likely hold Clacton, but other polls suggest an increase in national support for Reform UK since Mr Farage's announcement. His intention to fight in Clacton will be the Reform leader's eighth attempt at winning a seat in Westminster.

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Visiting Clacton on Friday (June 7), Mr Cleverly, the Conservative Party candidate in Braintree, joked "Nigel, who?" when asked whether this was Mr Farage's best chance at being elected while supporting the incumbent Clacton Tory MP Giles Watling's campaign. He added: "Funnily enough, it might upset Nigel, but I don’t think much about his career, successes or multiple failures.

"I’ve campaigned with Giles since he stood in the by-election and come down here since as he’s a good friend, a fantastic champion for the local area and I want to see him get re-elected. He was a local councillor and before that, he ran a local theatre. He’s Clacton, Clacton, Clacton.

"We’ve got other candidates who’ve turned up at the 11th hour and suddenly Clacton is on their minds in a way that it wasn’t six weeks ago. From the conversations that we’ve had this afternoon, locals can see that.

"They’re amused by the circus coming to town. I don’t think they're fooled for a minute. The choice is simple: you have a hard-working local MP whose roots are local and a Con Govt cracking down on ASB and putting more police on the streets.

"People don’t want a Labour government and all that brings with it. It brings £2,000 more of taxes, and those are just the ones we know about. They know instinctively that if they fall for the smoke and mirrors act of Nigel Farage then what they’ll end up with is a Labour government that will hurt them."

Besides Mr Farage and Mr Watling, the other parties' candidates for Clacton are Matthew Bensilum (Lib Dem), Natasha Osben (Greens) and Jovan Owusu-Nepaul (Labour).