Ukip’s leader Paul Nuttall has confirmed he will stand for MP in the general election in the seat of Boston and Skegness.
The constituency includes some of the strongest Leave-supporting areas in the country at last year’s EU referendum.
Mr Nuttall described it as “a great honour and a privilege” to be standing for Ukip in the seat, adding: “The constituency voted overwhelmingly for Leave, inspired in part by the massive betrayal of our fishing industry by successive governments, something that today’s Conservative Party, led by Theresa May, looks set to repeat.
“I will make it my mission to stand up for the people of Boston and Skegness and ensure there is no backsliding on Brexit.”
Sue Blackburn, chairman of the Ukip Boston and Skegness branch, said: “As branch chairman, I would like to say on behalf of the Boston and Skegness branch how delighted we are to have our leader standing in this election and Paul will have the upmost support of this branch.”
When Mr Nuttall was elected Ukip leader in November last year, he immediately sought to reshape his party’s purpose, to go after the Labour Party in its northern heartlands. Mr Nuttall said at the time: “My ambition is not insignificant: I want to replace the Labour Party and make Ukip the patriotic voice of working people.”
When asked by Sky News why he was again standing in an area with which he has no links whatsoever, Mr Nuttall said: “This is an election that has been called on Brexit. I am the leader of the most Eurosceptic party in the country. It makes sense for me to go to the most Eurosceptic area.
He also ruled out standing down if he lost. “No I won’t step down,” he said. “Whether Ukip is successful or not at this general election, it has a fantastic future.
“We don’t trust the Prime Minister to deliver the Brexit that people voted for on 23 June. We believe she will backslide on immigration and on the massive divorce bill with the EU, and will backslide on the future for our fishermen.”
In February, he fought and lost a disastrous by-election campaign in Stoke-on-Trent, attracting widespread ridicule for false claims made on his website that he had lost close personal friends at Hillsborough and had been a professional footballer.
Now he will take on a Conservative candidate in Lincolnshire. Ukip winning in Boston and Skegness would require a 5 per cent swing away from the Conservatives, just as the national polls have moved in the opposite direction.
The current MP is Matt Warman, a former journalist for The Daily Telegraph.