Ukip’s wannabe Chester MP Steve Ingram was offended by the now infamous tweet that forced the resignation of the shadow attorney general because he’s proud to call himself a ‘white van man’.

It was shortly after polls closed in the Rochester and Strood by-election, in which Ukip triumphed, that Labour’s Emily Thornberry MP posted that photo of a house in the constituency adorned with three St George flags and the owner’s white van parked outside.

 

“I had a slightly wry smile when I saw this,” said Steve, UKIP’s parliamentary candidate, who runs a cleaning services business. “I’m just the same guy at the other end of the country, like millions of people who have their own businesses. I’m proud to be British, I’m proud to be English and outside my house, when I read about this, was my white van. I thought ‘what is this about?’.”

Steve, 50, a working class man from the Labour strong-hold of Blacon and himself a former Labour voter, believes it was right for Mrs Thornberry to step down saying the tweet showed the party has become “disconnected from ordinary people” and no longer represents their interests.

He added: “I’m quite proud of the fact that I was born in Chester. I’ve lived in the area of Blacon for 49 years since the age of one. At the moment it doesn’t matter what area of Chester we go to, whether historically it’s a previous Labour-supporting area or historically a Conservative-supporting area, that doesn’t matter any more. We can go all over this city and get huge amounts of support.

“The background of people’s previous political affiliation is now going out of the window because people want to see some sensible policies and sensible direction for this country’s long term future.”

Does Steve believe he can win Chester? “I do, I do,” he said after a short pause.

Turning on the Conservatives, Steve, who is married to Elaine with three grown-up children, said: “Ukip is predominantly not about immigration. Ukip started as a protest group against the Conservative Party signing the Maastricht Treaty.

“I would just like to comment on the Conservative Party particularly because at the moment what I am struggling with is that they have a phrase which they use on their material which is, ‘The Conservatives - Securing Britain’s Future’.

“Did they think about Britain’s future when they signed the Maastricht Treaty, giving huge swathes of governance away from this country to the European Union?”

Steve becomes passionate when he explains that he refuses to recognise the European Parliament, or the flag of the EU, because it has “no legitimacy” in his eyes even though it has a huge influence on our lives.

Critics argue that while Ukip says it is ‘for the people’ it is trying hard to hide a right-wing free market agenda that will benefit the rich and point to Ukip leader Nigel Farage’s 2012 comments that the NHS should move towards an insurance-based system run by private companies.

Steve hit back: “Whether Ukip is deemed pro-business and not for the working class, this is absolute nonsense that’s being put out there by the political establishment. We are not in favour in any way of privatising the NHS.”

Among the local issues bothering Steve is grinding poverty among hard-working families who are being forced to turn to food banks, ‘studentification’ in certain areas and the need to protect the green belt, with particular concerns about the council’s recent decision to grant planning permission for a fire station in the green belt at Mollington and fears it represents a cut in the firefighting service.

He’s not sure how many candidates Ukip will stand in the general election or the local elections for Cheshire West and Chester that will take place on the same day, but ends with this thought-provoking statement.

“I think next year is probably one of the most unpredictable events in British politics for 50 years. It’s also very exciting because we aim to give the British people an opportunity to vote for something different.”