Romford Ukip candidate Gerard Batten says ‘appalling’ Channel 4 show will help him win seat
PUBLISHED: 13:00 17 February 2015 | UPDATED: 10:15 18 February 2015
Romford’s Ukip candidate has called controversial Channel 4 show UKIP: The First 100 Days “absolutely appalling” – but thinks it has increased his chances of winning the seat.
Last night’s spoof documentary imagined Nigel Farage becoming Prime Minister after a landslide win for Ukip in the general election.
It followed Deepa Kaur, Romford’s fictional new MP, as she battles with her conscience in the aftermath of raids and protests as a result of her party winning.
The show has been met with 731 Ofcom complaints and angry responses from the people of Romford, who felt the show depicted them as racist.
Gerard Batten MEP told the Recorder: “It was absolutely appalling. It really questions what a TV station can do in a democracy to try and influence a vote in an election.
“It was insulting and patronising to the people of Romford.”
In May’s Havering Council election Ukip won seven seats, more than half the 12 it carried across London. In the European election, 43 per cent of voters in Havering chose Ukip, significantly higher than the 17pc London average.
Mr Batten thinks the show has boosted his chances of winning the seat from Tory MP Andrew Rosindell in May.
“It will increase my chances,” he said. “Some people are saying if they were undecided before, their mind is made up now after this underhand attack.
“The left-wing media has got the wind up just as much as the political parties and is trying to damage the Ukip vote. It will have the opposite effect.”
His belief was backed up by Romford’s political firebrand Alby Tebbutt, who was a Tory councillor before joining Ukip.
“I’ve had calls galore this morning,” he told the Recorder. “It’s made Romford the most famous town in the country.”
Nigel Farage called the show a “biased, partisan depiction” on Twitter.
Meanwhile, Andrew Rosindell said he was “sick and tired” of people from Romford being “scapegoated” and the depiction of the town was “simply not the place I have lived all my life” – but blamed Ukip for “whipping up fears” over immigration.
Labour candidate Sam Gould said it was a “worrying” glimpse at what effect the Ukip policies could have.
An Ofcom spokesman said it would assess the complaints before deciding whether to take action.
A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: “This rise of UKIP’s support is one of the biggest political phenomena in recent years and this is reflected in the show, which used policies and statements made by the party and its members.
“The programme was produced in accordance with the Ofcom Broadcast Code.”
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