Paul Nuttall is a threat to NHS the Labour has claimed, as Ukip’s new leader announced he intended to focus his party’s efforts on winning over working class voters in the north of England.
On Monday morning, Nutall replaced Nigel Farage and the 39-year-old MEP for North West England, said Jeremy Corbyn represented an “open goal” for the party.
“Today the Labour Party has ceased to speak the language or address the issues of working people,” he said. “I want to replace the Labour Party.”
“They have a leader who will not sing the national anthem, a shadow chancellor who seems to admire the IRA more than he does the British Army, a shadow foreign secretary who sneers at the English flag and a shadow home secretary who seems to advocate unlimited immigration.”
However hitting back, Jon Trickett MP, Labour’s National Campaign Co-ordinator, said Nutall “wants privatisation in the NHS”. A stance that Labour believes would be deeply unpopular in its traditional heartlands.
Trickett said: “Paul Nuttall has welcomed privatisation of the health service, arguing that the ‘very existence of the NHS stifles competition’. By electing Paul Nuttall as their leader, Ukip have sent a clear message that they pose a threat to our NHS. It is clear that we cannot trust UKIP and Paul Nuttall with the NHS. A vote for them is a vote against the health service as we know it.”
Following Ukip’s Monday morning announcement that Nutall was its new leader Labour immediately posted to Twitter a video of the MEP speaking in the past about the NHS.
Labour MP Stephen Kinnock, speaking on behalf of the pro-EU Open Britain campaign also reacted to Nuttal’s victory by accusing the new Ukip leader of wanting to “privatise our NHS”.
“He calls himself patriotic, but has a history of making pro-Russian comments. He talks about unity, but has spent his career stirring up division in our communities,” Kinnock said.
“Paul Nuttall will use his leadership to fight for a hard Brexit that would put jobs, growth and living standards at risk. The best outcome for working people would be to reject UKIP’s politics of division, and unite behind a progressive vision for our country that retains our unfettered access to the Single Market.”
Nuttall beat former deputy chairman Suzanne Evans and party activist John Rees-Evans with an overwhelming 62% of the vote.
The latest Ukip leadership race was triggered when Diane James gave up the job last month, just 18 days after being elected to replace Farage.