NIGEL Farage came the region and declared himself as the heir to Margaret Thatcher today.
Speaking over a pint in a Yarm pub the Ukip leader, in the region to campaign ahead of next month’s European Union elections, said he supported the free-market, anti-union reforms of the 1980s.
He acknowledged that unemployment, which rose dramatically in the North-East iduring the Thatcher period, was still a major problem in the region but argued that identity issues were as important as economics in appealing to the North-East electorate.
And he said the Labour Party, traditionally the party which wins most support in the region, “no longer represented the interests of working-class people in the North-East.”
He said: “I think we as a party understand them (working class people) far more than the other parties...polls here show this is the most patriotic part of England...It is also the most eurosceptic part of England.”
Mr Farage also rebutted criticism surrounding the employment of his German wife as an assistant, instead of someone born in the UK, and defended a Ukip poster campaign warning that unemployed Europeans were ''after'' people's jobs in this country.