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Labour versus Ukip.

NORTH East MEP Jonathan Arnott, as readers of his monthly Journal column will know, is a rather different sort of Ukip-per.

Ukip has made a determined effort to try to comb out the nutters and racists that tended to cleave to it.

That's an ongoing task - but if Ukip continue to be successful then it is Labour that has much to fear.

Mr Arnott, who today (Page 27) sets out his case for the leadership, offers an interesting view of the direction the party should pursue in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, which was of course a triumph for Ukip.

If he wins, expect Labour to face a much more focused challenge in northern regions, including our own.

In fact, even if he doesn't win then Ukip should still be training its sights on seats in our region.

At the last election, most of Ukip's target seats were in the South and East. They had a few near-misses, but their eventual return of just one MP - Douglas Carswell in Clacton - was undoubtedly a disappointment.

The referendum result shows there are voters in North East England that are temperamentally much closer to Ukip than they are to Jeremy Corbyn's London-ish Labour Party.

The challenge for Ukip is to persuade those voters to desert Labour. Thanks to Mr Corbyn - who is still likely to remain leader for some time to come - that job is getting easier all the time.

Nigel Farage carried his party to undreamed-of success in the referendum - but he never cut it at general elections. A northern-focused Ukip may crack that problem - at Labour's expense.

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Title Annotation:Letters
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jul 28, 2016
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