Framfield man Peter Griffiths was announced this morning (February 7) in Uckfield as the UKIP candidate for the Wealden constituency at the next general election.
Mr Griffiths, with his wife, used to have a shop in Framfield Road, Uckfield. They now have a shop at Forest Row.
He is a former member of the Conservative Party and at one stage revived the party’s branch at Withyham and became chairman when he lived in the village.
County council elections
Mr Griffiths, 65, joined UKIP in 2011 and stood in the Forest Row ward at last year’s county council election where he secured nearly 30 per cent of the vote.
He has had a career in aviation, initially with BOAC, then with Cathay Pacific before ending his career flying an executive jet.
UKIP, he said, made a big impact in the county council elections and he believes the party will do extremely well in the European Parliament elections later this year.
The party, he believes, will win votes from different areas.
‘UKIP made people enthusiastic again’
“A large proportion will come from Conservatives and an equally large proportion will come from people who did not vote at the last election or have not voted before. UKIP has made them enthusiastic to go and vote again,” he said.
“We are also taking people from the Liberal Democrats and Labour.”
He admitted the Wealden Constituency had been a “devout Conservative area”. He commented: “There was a time in the past when they could have weighed the votes not counted them. Now we are getting more and more people signing up.”
Mr Griffiths said UKIP was more than an anti-European Union party and had a full raft of policies.
He said the British electorate did not realise how far EU rules impinged on British life. He said it was now being claimed that silt in the rivers of the Somerset Levels could not be spread on the land because the EU claimed the silt was “industrial waste”.
‘Petty rules and regulations’
The EU, he said, was full of “petty rules and regulations” which are “unfortunately gold-plated by the bureaucrats in Westminster”.
Mr Griffiths was selected to fight the seat at a “hustings” where he face two other local candidates.
*The current MP for Wealden is Conservative Charles Hendry. He was elected after polling 31,090 votes. His nearest rival was Chris Bowers (LD) who polled 13,911 votes. The UKIP candidate, Daniel Docker, polled 3,319 votes.
*Mr Hendry will not stand at the 2015 general election. An an “open primary” Nus Ghani was chosen to be the Conservative candidate in 2015. Report here