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Helmer says Tory should join UKIP


UKIP's Roger Helmer has invited Conservative county council leader Nick Rushton to join his party after reading his election leaflet.

The East Midlands MEP said councillor Rushton's election material contained UKIP policies on the HS2 rail link, EU membership and immigration – and which are at odds with Government's stance.

The County Hall leader, who is seeking re-election in North West Leicestershire's Valley division, has been circulating leaflets with pledges should he win on May 2.

In them, Mr Rushton says he will "Say No To HS2", support an in/or referendum on EU membership and "do all he can to oppose uncontrolled immigration to the UK".

Mr Helmer, a Tory who defected to UKIP, said: "Every one of those is a UKIP policy and they are not what the Conservative Government is doing.

"The Government wants HS2 running through Leicestershire and UKIP is the only party opposed to it on a national level.

"Nick Rushton and the Tories say we can have an EU membership referendum but the leaflet doesn't say it would be in five years' time.

"We would have one as soon as it is possible.

"If he really feels that, why is his party opening up the country to another 29 million Romanians and Bulgarians next year?"

UKIP has been criticised for scaremongering on the issue of immigration in its own election material by inflating the number of people who will potentially arrive from Eastern Europe when restrictions on the jobs Bulgarians and Romanians can do here end in 2014.

But Mr Helmer said: "It looks like Nick Rushton feels his best chance of getting re-elected is to borrow our clothing.

"My message to him is if you agree with UKIP policies then do the honest thing and come across and join us.

"With what he claims to believe in, he should be a UKIP voter."

Coun Rushton politely but firmly rejected the suggestion he should follow former Tory County Hall colleagues David Sprason and Rob Fraser in defecting to UKIP.

He said: "I would say no thank you, Roger. I am perfectly happy with the party I have been a member of since I was 25 years old."

Coun Rushton, who has previously predicted UKIP will not win a single seat at County Hall, said he was not against the HS2 project in principal but was opposed to the proposed route.

He said: "It will come through my division and wreck it. We get all the pain and none of the gain.

"I am perfectly comfortable with an in/out EU membership referendum after the next General Election. If you were to ask my personal opinion, I would remain in Europe.

"I don't think 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians will be coming here next year.

"But I do think we need sensible policies on immigration."

Helmer says Tory  should join UKIP

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