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Saturday, 20 September 2014

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First recognised branch of UKIP set up in west Cumbria

A man from the Labour stronghold of Workington has set up west Cumbria’s first recognised branch of the UK Independence party.

Mark Jenkinson photo
Mark Jenkinson with his partner Dawn and children Elliot and Harry

Mark Jenkinson, 30, of Milburn Street, is convinced the party can win over disaffected voters from mainstream parties.

There was previously a loose coalition of UK Independence party members in west Cumbria, but this is the first time they have been recognised by the National Executive Committee (NEC).

Mr Jenkinson said: “We are a grass roots party with growing membership.

“We want to give power back to the people. We are a broad church. We have been set up for the hard workers and the strivers and the people of Britain abandoned by Labour – the working class.

“And I would appeal to those members of patriotic Old Labour to think long and hard about what the party has done to the country more recently”.

Mr Jenkinson, a father-of-three and a Sellafield worker, joined UKIP after he became disillusioned with the Conservative party.

He said: “I’m fairly new to UKIP. I only joined this year but I have been talking about it for some time. I had to make a decision whether I was loyal to my party [then the Conservatives] or my principles and the two didn’t work together.

“We already had members in west Cumbria – I just brought them together.”

UKIP is the only party to have representation in all four countries of the UK.

However, the party still has no elected members in west Cumbria, something that branch members are keen to change.

The group meets in the Travellers Rest in Workington and the Lowther Arms in Hensingham, Whitehaven, where they discuss strategies, policies and potential vacancies on local council.

UKIP was founded in 1993 by British Eurosceptics in response to the Maastricht Treaty, which is formally known as Treaty on European Union.

But Mr Jenkinson said: “We are wrongly thought of as a single issue party, but we went into the General Election in 2010 with a full manifesto.

“I suppose at first we were seen as a pressure group but as time has gone on we have gained more political legitimacy.”

The party want to keep the National Health Service free at point of use, but only for UK citizens, and to extend the provision to include free eye tests and dental checks.

The party also wants the UK to leave the EU which Mr Jenkinson says costs £53m a day.

He was also keen to dismiss claims from certain members of the Labour party that UKIP members were “fascists”.

“No-one who has stood for the BNP or any members of any far right extremist groups can be a member of UKIP,” he said.

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