UKIP’s Croydon and Sutton candidate for the London Assembly admits the odds are stacked against him.
Peter Staveley told SW Londoner that pushing for Brexit has complicated the London campaign for him and his party, as they look towards the ‘considerably more important’ In/Out EU referendum on June 23.
“It’s not unreasonable for you to wonder what has happened to UKIP, because we are often working with Vote Leave rather than under the UKIP banner, and obviously that has affected the campaign,” he said.
“I would love to win and nothing would please me more but I am pragmatic, especially with a First Past the Post election. It would be nice to be elected but who knows.”
However, Mr Staveley, who lives in Addiscombe, still expressed strong views about some issues affecting the Croydon and Sutton constituency.
He said: “The main issue is the Beddington incinerator. Not only does it produce lots of bad air but it also increases traffic, and it is a result of the EU directive on landfill.
“We would want a referendum including the residents of Croydon, Sutton and Merton to decide if the incinerator could go ahead.”
In addition, the railway engineer who worked on the London Overground, said he wanted to see TfL taking over all National Rail services in the area, lamenting the lack of Underground stations in south London, compared with the city’s north.
And he contended that cutting down on immigration is the most effective way to ease the demand on housing in London, adding: “People from outside the UK tend to have a different culture which is not necessarily bad, but it can cause other problems.
“Everything is good in moderation and at the moment, with the housing situation, we are not in moderation.”
Aside from the distraction of the referendum, Mr Staveley feels Croydon is too hard a nut for him to crack – and has even been quoted by the Croydon Advertiser as saying there is ‘no point’ in exerting himself there.
He said: “We have done some leafleting but you only really have to look at the 2014 and 2015 results to see which areas we are strong and which areas we are weak.
“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to concentrate on the areas where you do best in.”
He argued that the Conservative-Labour polarisation of voters in Croydon makes it difficult for smaller parties to find success there, whereas the Liberal Democrat-controlled council of Sutton is more fertile ground for campaigns outside of the mainstream.
And he took aim at Labour’s candidate for the constituency Leonie Cooper, saying: “I haven’t particularly noticed her campaigning. There’s been a couple of pictures on Twitter but that’s about it.”
While Mr Staveley conceded that the EU referendum, coupled with UKIP’s unpopularity in Croydon, gave him limited confidence for his own constituency, he said: “London-wide, I am extremely optimistic – we might get two or even three Assembly members.”
He was full of praise for UKIP’s mayoral candidate, Peter Whittle, who has orchestrated all of the party’s London campaign.
“I think he has done very well. I was involved in the 2012 election and this time has been much better.
“He has been helped by the fact that UKIP is now seen as a major party, and Peter has been invited to all the major hustings and TV debates.
“He has been able to show that UKIP is different to other parties. We are happy to talk about immigration whereas other parties sweep it under the carpet.”
Featured image courtesy of Sutton Voice TV via YouTube, with thanks