Romford Ukip candidate Gerard Batten trades blows with Andrew Rosindell
- Credit: photo: Arnaud Stephenson
The war of words has begun in the Romford MP battle with Ukip candidate Gerard Batten and Tory MP Andrew Rosindell trading insults.
Mr Batten, the MEP for London, has recently opened his European office in Victoria Road, Romford, and is putting the final lick of purple paint on his local campaign hub in Crow Lane.
And the 60-year-old has wasted no time in taking aim at his “phoney” Tory competitor, who he says will vote “whichever way the wind blows”.
“I’m not attacking Andrew Rosindell personally, but I am politically,” explained Mr Batten. “He is a phoney. It’s all about staying in office – he will do and say whatever is required.”
Mr Batten, who was born in Harold Hill and lives in Forest Gate, sits under a portrait of “Britain’s greatest hero” Lord Nelson in his new office, a converted African food shop.
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He has a small team consisting of his assistant, Luba, and Havering councillor Lawrence Webb, the first elected Ukip councillor in London.
His Romford campaign, he promises, will be a much larger affair, and he plans to “paint the town purple”.
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“It’s between me and him [Andrew Rosindell],” he said. “He’s a eurosceptic. I’m not – we should get out of Europe.”
The Tory stalwart, who has been MP since 2001, hit back at claims he was a “phoney,” questioning Mr Batten’s recent move to the area and saying it would take a “pretty huge swing” for Ukip to win the seat.
“I’ve been here my entire life,” he said. “And he suddenly opens his office months before the general election. I think people can work out who’s the phoney and who’s genuine.
“Who’s funding it? It’s EU money. I think it’s pretty hypocritical. He will chuck names around but my views are consistent. “If we [Conservatives] get a majority in May we will hold a referendum and I will be campaigning for us to leave Europe and have a normal, trading relationship.”