Ukip’s leader admitted he is not confident he will be elected next month before claiming the party will be stronger than ever in two years.
With just 19 days to go before the country heads to the polls, Paul Nuttall refused to be pinned down on how many seats his party would win in the General Election.
As he took a break from campaigning and sat down to tuck into pie, mash and parsley liquor in Dagenham, east London, the Boston and Skegness candidate stressed they are “targeting sensibly” and they will “get people over the line”.
Quizzed by the Press Association on if this included himself, Liverpudlian Nuttall said: “I don’t know about that - but we will certainly give it a go.”
Out wooing potential voters on Saturday, the Ukip leader was speaking as he joined Peter Harris, the party’s Dagenham and Rainham constituency candidate, for a spot of campaigning.
After greeting party supporters and chatting to two high street business owners, the pair stopped at a pie and mash shop, with Nuttall, who had not experienced the dish with the traditional liquor before, describing his lunch as “very nice”.
Asked if he thinks the party will next month top the 3.9 million votes it garnered at the General Election in 2015, Nuttall said that they would not.
“We are not putting up as many candidates, we took the decision, the very honourable decision to give Brexiteers a free ride... therefore we put country above party in this election,” he added.
“In effect it is a unique election because it is about Brexit.”
Pressed on whether the party is doomed and finished, he said “no”, adding: “Ukip in two years time will be bigger than it’s ever been.”
Asked what his basis for that claim is, Nuttall said: “I think she (Theresa May) will backslide, I think it is pretty obvious what she is going to do. She’ll end up with a whopping Tory majority and then she will begin to barter it away.
“She’ll barter away the fisheries, there will be a deal over this divorce bill... I think there will be a deal over freedom of movement as well and that’s not what the British people voted for on June 23 last year.
“Then there will be a huge amount of anger and a feeling of betrayal, then you’ve got to ask yourself the question ‘where are all these people going to go?’
“And there’s only one place, and that’s Ukip.”
Campaigning was postponed on Friday after Ukip’s distinctive purple battle bus, emblazoned with Nuttall’s face, was damaged.
The vehicle was clipped by a lorry in a coach park over night, taking a wing mirror off and grounding the party’s campaigning while it was fixed.
With the bus back in action, Nuttall stepped off it near Elm Park Tube station to cheers from supporters.
He later told the Press Association the bus losing the wing mirror had been a “total accident”, and said a “lorry driver had just got too close”.