WIGANERS pledged to stand up to Ukip in the general elections after a town centre pub stepped in to host a public meeting.
Local activists wanted to rally support against Nigel Farage’s party at Sunshine House, Scholes, but the meeting was blocked at the 11th hour for contravening the council-owned facility’s guidelines.
However, Stand Up To Ukip, which has support from trade unionists, green campaigners and some Labour Party members, did manage to get its message across after The Raven in Wigan town centre came to its aid with the loan of a room.
Almost 30 people heard Zak Cochrane, leader of the national protest movement, address the meeting, which agreed to put on further similar events in Wigan before the May 7 poll.
A Stand Up To Ukip spokesman said: “The cancellation was our fault as we should have said it was a public meeting, but hopefully we can draw a line under it now.
“People at the meeting came from all sides of the political spectrum and discussed the need to present to the electorate more positive, constructive and compassionate policies that address the needs of people other than bankers, financiers and wealthy global businesses.”
Mr Cochrane told the meeting Ukip’s policies offered little to the majority of people in Wigan and accused the party of scapegoating migrants and other vulnerable groups for the country’s ills.
He said: “The overwhelming evidence is that migrants contribute to economic growth.
“They are young, fit and productive, pay their taxes and don’t overuse the health service as Ukip claim.”
Wigan Ukip has blasted Stand Up To Ukip, accusing the organisation of misrepresenting the party and its members’ views.