A POLITICAL row has broken out after campaigners announced a meeting to urge Wiganers to reject Ukip at the ballot box.
Trade unionists, green campaigners and Labour Party members from across the borough are among those behind a Stand Up To Ukip meeting in Scholes tonight.
The group is organising the event at Sunshine House Community Centre and will accuse Nigel Farage’s fast-growing party of misinformation and being another version of the Conservatives which offers little to Wigan’s voters.
However, the meeting has drawn a frosty response from Wigan UKIP, which says the event simply shows the established political parties are concerned about the impact it could make in May’s elections and accused Stand Up To Ukip of exaggeration.
Unison shop steward in Wigan Dave Lowe, speaking in support of the meeting, said: “Ukip emerged from the belly of the Tory party under John Major. These were people who thought their party didn’t go far enough in privatising the welfare state, removing the safety net of benefits for the poorest of people, and disabling trade unions from defending their members.
“They hated Europe for the social legislation they passed, human rights policies and so on. The economic crisis gave them the opportunity to scapegoat migrants and present themselves as defenders of the unemployed.
“In reality they are a mean and nasty bunch of bigots and populists who yearn for the days when workers doffed their caps.”
But Wigan Ukip chairwoman Maureen McCoy said: “I have looked at Stand Up To Ukip’s website and I’m appalled by what they are reporting: racists, bigots, sexists, Islamophobes, homophobes and prejudice against disabled people. If we were any of these things, certainly I and all my Ukip colleagues would have nothing to do with the party. But we’re not. As Nigel Farage has said, Ukip is colour blind. We simply want to manage our own affairs by coming out of Europe and have control of our own borders.
“In my view Stand Up To Ukip is scaremongering as they see us as a serious threat to the two dominant parties and to the establishment.
“They say we are spreading myths. In fact, sadly, it is Stand Up To Ukip who are spreading the myths.”