UKIP leader Gerrard Batten has expressed his confidence that the party will pick up some seats at upcoming local elections, despite the fact far fewer candidates are standing than four years ago.
In 2014, UKIP fielded 2,193 councillor candidates, winning 161 seats. Now, however, only 540 candidates are standing for the party.
Mr. Batten said that UKIP candidates are standing, among other matters, for the ‘complete exit’ of the European Union.
He talked of the difficulty of setting up an effective campaign for the local elections, highlighting the fact that when he became leader in April (after having been the interim leader since February), ‘there was no local election campaign planned at all.’
‘I think success for us would be if we could hold on to our seats and if we could win a few more but it’s going to be very difficult because we had to do it from a standing start,’ Mr. Batten added.
‘But we are confident we can retain our seats and also win a few more in some unusual places like Rochdale, for example, where we haven’t had members previously.’
The local elections shall take place on Thursday 3 May.