Clacton reacts to Nigel Farage standing in election

Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage is putting himself forward to become an MP in Clacton, Essex [Reuters]

People in the seaside town of Clacton-on-Sea have been giving their verdict on the news that Nigel Farage will be fighting to become their MP for Reform UK.

The former UKIP and Brexit Party leader insisted two weeks ago that he would not be standing in the upcoming general election, but changed his mind, saying he could not "let down millions of people".

The Essex constituency was represented by Conservative Giles Watling until Parliament was dissolved.

So what do people in Clacton-on-Sea think?

'I've watched him on television'

Brenda Mullett with white hair and blue top
Brenda Mullett, 79, said Nigel Farage was "marvellous" [BBC]

Retired Brenda Mullett, 79, told the BBC: "I think he's marvellous. I think he's a perfect gentleman, he's very well educated and I think he's very good for the job.

"I've watched him on television. I think I will vote for him."

'He doesn't bring anything'

Sarah Hellen with long dark hair and white jacket
Sarah Hallen said Nigel Farage attracted too much attention [BBC]

Sarah Hallen said she was concerned about the amount of attention Mr Farage received.

"He's never won any election where he's stood to be an MP and I don't understand why people focus so much on him when he doesn't bring anything other than division and difficulties, as far as I can work out," she said.

"I don't know why people focus on him when there's lots of other parties, not necessarily Tories or Labour, who have more seats and more share of the votes.

"More attention should be given to them."

'He will win'

Biodua Thomas wearing headscarf and grey jacket
Biodua Thomas predicted a Nigel Farage victory [BBC]

Biodua Thomas, who is retired, made her prediction for the seat.

"I think if he run for Clacton, he will win," she said.

However, she believed that "nobody knows who's going to win it".

'Doesn't matter who gets in'

Allen Forecast with short grey hair and black top
Allen Forecast said he would not want Nigel Farage running the country [BBC]

Allen Forecast said he thought Mr Farage was "funny, some of the things he does, good old British style really, but I wouldn't want him running the country".

"I think he'd be all right in a small constituency," he added.

Speaking about politicians, he said: "They're all going to do you over, aren't they? Don't matter who gets in. It doesn't bother me who gets in."

Why Clacton?

BBC political reporter Charlotte Rose said the Essex coastal constituency was an obvious choice for Nigel Farage, who has been a familiar face in the town having campaigned there during previous election campaigns and the Brexit referendum.

It was the only Westminster parliamentary seat ever held by his former party UKIP, after it was won in a by-election by the former Conservative Douglas Carswell.

Clacton had the second highest vote in favour of leaving the EU, coming a close second to Boston in Lincolnshire.

Almost 70% of people voted for Brexit, on a turnout of 75.4%.

Research for the Clacton Place programme showed half all people over 16 in the town were economically inactive and one in five had never had a job.

The latest government labour data also revealed economic inactivity in Clacton at 46.8% - more than twice the 21.7% UK average.

Who else is standing?

The other candidates announced as standing in Clacton so far are (listed in alphabetical order by surname):

  • Matthew Bensilum, Liberal Democrats

  • Natasha Osben, Green Party

  • Jovan Owusu-Nepaul, Labour Party

  • Giles Watling, Conservative Party

A full list will be published on the BBC News website after nominations close on Friday.

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