Would-be MP Victoria Atkins has acknowledged the growing threat posed by UKIP in next year’s general election and admitted: “I am taking nothing for granted.”
Mrs Atkins is an odds-on favourite to succeed Sir Peter Tapsell as the MP for Louth and Horncastle in next May’s General Election.
She will be defending one of the biggest Tory majorities in the country but sources suggest UKIP have specifically targeted the seat.
In her first major interview since being chosen as a candidate, Mrs Atkins has taken a swipe at UKIP and hit back at claims that she is an ‘outsider.’
Mrs Atkins, who confirmed she had relocated to the area from Gloucestershire, said: “My concern about UKIP as a party is that they play on people’s fears and concerns and cynically makes promises that they know cannot be met.
“The leadership has acquired some unpleasant friends in Brussels who are so far right, that even the National Front in France won’t deal with them.
“To me, UKIP seems to look to the past. As a mother and as someone who wants to represent the whole of Louth and Horncastle, I refuse to do that.
“We have a great history but I want to look forward and help build an even better future for our children.”
Mrs Atkins revealed she would be fighting her campaign on ‘local issues affecting local people’ and refused to comment on UKIP candidate Colin Mair’s claims that his local links meant he “is everything she isn’t.”
Mrs Atkins added: “I don’t want to talk about UKIP more than I have to because my campaign is not about looking over my shoulder at what other people might be doing.
“I’m am doing a campaign that I think is right. I’m bringing bags of goodwill and enthusiasm.
“Others have made rude remarks about me but I’m not interested in that.
“I take nothing for granted. I have enormous respect for voters and democracy,
“I am working to win. I am the only candidate who has been selected by the public. Every other candidate to date was imposed by their party.
“These claims that I’ve been parachuted in are quite frankly nonsense.
“I am not a local yet. I don’t pretend to be and I never have done. I think that is a positive advantage because it means I come to this with a fresh pair of hands and an open mind.
“I have no baggage with previous relations with councils and councillors.”
Mrs Atkins confirmed she had moved with her husband and three-year-old child and had ‘wound down’ her successful practice as a barrister.
She added; ”There will be 650 MPs in the next Parliament but only one will be representing Louth and Horncastle.
“Isn’t it better that we pick an MP on the basis of merit rather than on the basis of their postcode.”