Page last updated at 14:45 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 15:45 UK

UKIP eyes 'fed up' mayoral voters

Gerard Batten
Mr Batten was a founder member of UKIP

UKIP's mayoral candidate Gerard Batten has urged Londoners to vote for him if they are "fed up" with current immigration policy.

Launching UKIP's immigration policy and his manifesto, he called for a five year immigration freeze and a work permit system to fill labour gaps.

He has also pledged to scrap the congestion charge, if elected.

While London's mayor has no control of immigration, Mr Batten said he would use it as a platform to discuss it.

"Britain is full," Mr Batten - currently MEP for London - told the BBC, as the party launched its campaign at Westminster with a vintage open-topped Routemaster bus decked out in its purple colours.

"We are having net immigration of about 200,000 people a year. You can't go on keeping cramming more and more people into the same limited space."

'Right skills'

He said UKIP would put an immediate five-year freeze on all immigration "until we sort our borders out", but said Britain would have to leave the EU to regain control of immigration.

UKIP says there should be a "discriminating, limited and controlled immigration policy" allowing people in who have the "right skills that we want to fill specific gaps in the economy".

UKIP is as strong as ever and the only people who want to write us off are the people who are frightened of us
Gerard Batten

He conceded as mayor he would have no say over immigration policy, but added: "If you're fed up with this situation, as we are, vote for UKIP and I can use the mayoral office as a platform to talk about these things."

And he said he had a full range of policies on issues the mayor did have control over - including a promise to scrap the congestion charge, which he argues has not worked and is "fuelled by Ken Livingstone's ideological hatred of the car".

He has also pledged to scrap the London Assembly and replace it, at no cost, with a greater London council and to cap the costs of the 2012 Olympics.

Ten candidates are running for mayor of London - currently held by Labour's Ken Livingstone. His main challengers are the Conservative candidate Boris Johnson and Lib Dem Brian Paddick.

UKIP came fourth in the 2004 mayoral elections, which were held on the same day as the European Parliament elections.

Asked if UKIP had been riven by splits and faced an uphill battle on 1 May, Mr Batten said: "If I had a pound for every time we have been written off I could probably retire."

He added: "UKIP is as strong as ever and the only people who want to write us off are the people who are frightened of us, like the big parties who don't like our message and, I have to say, some sections of the media."

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  Councillors Councils
Party +/- Total +/- Total
CON 257 3155 12 65
LAB -334 2365 -9 18
LD 33 1804 1 12
PC 31 205 -1 0
OTH 10 898 0 0
NOC - - -3 64
159 of 159 councils declared.

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London Mayoral results
Overall results
Name Party Votes
Johnson CON 1,168,738
Livingstone LAB 1,028,966
Paddick LD 878,097
Berry GRN 409,101

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London Assembly Results
Overall results
Party Constit' Top-up Total seats
CON 8 3 11
LAB 6 2 8
LD 0 3 3
GRN 0 2 2
BNP 0 1 1

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