Pollsters are putting UKIP in third place in the race for the first elected mayor of the West Midlands.
The results of the poll – which place the party’s candidate Pete Durnell clearly ahead of the Lib Dems – have been welcomed by James Carver, one of the region’s three UKIP MEPs.
Mr Carver said the Birmingham Mail poll underlined the relevance of UKIP as the nation heads towards the general election on June 8.
Labour and the Conservatives each look set to get around 33 per cent of first preference votes, but the online survey of 2,500 Trinity Mirror readers shows UKIP is going to make a difference in the mayoral election with a 15.7 per cent share of the vote – steaming ahead of the Lib Dems on just 7.4 per cent.
Mr Durnell said: “Although lagging a little behind Conservative and Labour, this survey reflects solid support for UKIP across the region, and for the central theme of my campaign, which is to be absolutely open and honest with voters at all times.”
After campaigning with Mr Durnell in Birmingham, Mr Carver said: “There are many votes out there for UKIP, which is the only party wholeheartedly committed to a clean break from the European Union.
“The exit talks have barely started – UKIP has a key role to play in ensuring we get the Brexit we want – not one that is watered down by mealy-mouthed negotiators.
“This election is about Brexit and Labour and the Lib Dems can never be effective opposition because they wanted to remain – but UKIP together with the Tories will scare the pants off the Brussels bureaucrats.”
Mr Carver added: “Pete Durnell is a force to be reckoned with in West Midlands politics, scoring an impressive 17 per cent of the vote cast in last year’s election for the West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner with 93,851 votes.
“He and UKIP will continue to attract substantial support and votes at the ballot box – both in the mayoral elections and the general election.
“Our wide range of policies underlines that we are certainly not a single-issue party, as our opponents suggest, and that we are able to garner consistent support at elections at all levels.”
Mr Durnell added: “Over the final two weeks I will continue to point out the high cost to taxpayers of the new layer of government, whilst highlighting my simple, achievable and realistic priorities, and avoiding making any obviously unrealistic claims about what a mayor can actually do.
“I believe with the level of turnout uncertain, it's still very much 'all to play for' in this election.
“If you want a true, clean and total exit from the EU, not a 'soft/fake' one, then there can surely be no better way of sending this message to Westminster and Theresa May than by returning a UKIP West Midlands Metro Mayor on May 4."
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