Nigel Farage to stand in Clacton at the election to mixed reaction from residents

Nigel Farage has announced today (Monday) that he will stand in Clacton at the upcoming General Election. His intention to run as the area's MP has garnered mixed reaction from residents.

The party’s founder announced earlier today (June 3) that he will be contesting the Essex seat - currently held by Giles Watling, since 2017 - and is taking over from Richard Tice as party leader. As the announcement was made, the high street of the seaside town was quiet despite the mild weather.

People did not seem keen to speak about the upcoming election or about Mr Farage’s announcement, according to PA News Agency. However, Edel Ruddy, 58, who has lived in Clacton for 40 years, told the PA news agency she would “definitely” be voting for Mr Farage on July 4 as she believed “his heart was in the right place” and he would “stand up” for the local area.

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Ms Ruddy added she felt it was “unfair” that businesses in Clacton were closing down and that the town has been “forgotten”. She added: “No-one wants to fight for Clacton.”

When asked what she supported about Mr Farage’s politics, Ms Ruddy said: “I think he’s the sort of person that will try and encourage people to do what they can to make things better. It’s the fact that he wants to try, especially here in Clacton.

“Clacton is so forgotten in so many ways – it’s just utterly ridiculous and unfair.”

Sophie Cassen, 21, a catering industry worker who works and lives in Clacton, said she would not be voting in the upcoming election and that she did not know who Mr Farage is. When asked for her thoughts on the former MEP’s announcement, she said: “I don’t know who he is.

“I don’t really keep up to that sort of stuff – I don’t really pay attention to politics. I just don’t really know how to – I don’t really go on the news or anything like that.”

George Charalambous, 59, who moved to Clacton from east London around five months ago, said he thought voting for the Reform UK candidate was a “wasted vote” as Mr Farage “wouldn’t achieve much” if elected to Parliament. The former factory worker said he would be voting for Labour but would also consider voting tactically either for Reform UK or the Liberal Democrats in order to defeat the Conservative candidate.

When asked for his opinion on Mr Farage’s decision to contest the Essex seat, he said: “He’s not going to achieve much because we’ve done Brexit. I am a Labour supporter, so would I vote for him?

“If he was a second choice, I say yeah, I probably would. At the end of the day, it’s sort of tactics really – I mean Clacton is a Conservative area, so obviously I want someone else to win.”

Jason Matthews, 51, who works in the care industry, said he “loved” Mr Farage and welcomed the news that he would be standing in Clacton.

He said: “I just love him as a person. Given the chance, I feel like he should be leading the Conservative Party really to be honest.”

When asked whether there were any Reform UK policies in particular that he supported, Mr Matthews replied: “Not really – I just like Nigel Farage as a person.”

He added: “He’s straight down the line, honest, says it how it is. I wouldn’t vote Labour or Conservative this time around because I just don’t trust either of them.”

Mr Farage has stood – and failed – seven times to gain election as an MP. His most recent attempt took place in South Thanet, Kent, in 2015, where the then Ukip leader finished second behind the Tories, who secured a 2,812 majority.

Monday’s announcement came after Mr Farage spent several days insisting he would not be running to become an MP for the eighth time and instead would support Reform by campaigning across the country.