UKIP leader Nigel Farage hailed Northamptonshire as “a great place to be” as he visited Wellingborough and Kettering for the launch of a campaign for the UK to leave the European Union.
Mr Farage took to the streets of Wellingborough and addressed 2,000 people at Kettering’s Conference Centre today (Saturday) at the launch of Grassroots Out to discuss his views ahead of an impending referendum.
The campaign was founded by Wellingborough MP Peter Bone and Corby and East Northants MP Tom Pursglove along with Labour’s Kate Hoey.
Mr Farage spoke to van drivers, butchers, and even popped in to The Little Ale House in Wellingborough for a pint of ale.
And he says the county was the perfect place to launch what he believes is one of the most important campaign’s in British history.
He said: “Northamptonshire is the heart of England so symbolically it’s a great place to be.
“I have spent 20 years of my life fighting and campaigning for this.
“I believe the best people to govern Britain are the British people themselves, this means more to me than anything in my political career.
“We are not against Europe, we love Europe.
“What we are against is the idea of all of our laws being administered by those in Brussels.”
Corby and East Northants MP Tom Pursglove says they will win the campaign ‘vote by vote’.
He said: “We need to get past this bickering that people are put off by.
“There are many reasons why we should leave the EU and the referendum could happen as early as June.
“I have no beef with Europe but what I do have beef with is the European Commission.
“We are going to go out there and knock on doors and win this campaign vote by vote.
Kettering MP Philip Hollobone says Northamptonshire is the “beating heart” of the nation.
He said: “We are here in middle England and this is our one and only chance to get our country back.
“In Northamptonshire we are the beating heart of this nation.
“Nigel (Farage) says it how it is and is as good a leader as he was 40 years ago when we were at school.”
Wellingborough MP Peter Bone says his constituents have highlighted immigration as a major issue.
He said: “In our area we run a listening campaign and what people tell us is that the number one issue by a country mile is immigration.
“What they actually mean is unrestricted immigration from the European Union.
“In Wellingborough there is a large population from India and to get their friends and family in there are so many hoops and hurdles.
“Yet they see other people who’ve got no connections whatsoever with this country just walking in from the European Union.”
Vauxhall’s Labour MP Kate Hoey said: “When we joined the EU its nine members had 36 per cent of the world’s economy.
“It’s now down to 17 per cent, the EU is a shrinking market.
“We are going to get one chance to leave and that chance is now.”
East Antrim’s DUP MP Sammy Wilson said: “We will defy the EU trying to shackle us today.
“I am quite happy to say no to European interference.
“For 40 years our relationship with Europe has been decided by others and that must stop.”