Oft-sacked Ukipper Suzanne Evans today praised a book which claims “it’s best not to mention” Nigel Farage when out campaigning to leave the European Union.
Ms Evans told a fringe event at the party’s Spring conference in Llandudno, North Wales, that the Ukip leader was as mistrusted over the EU issue as former Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Referencing a book called “How Not To Talk About Europe” produced by think-tank British Future, the former party Deputy Chairman – who was sacked from the role earlier this week – stressed she was merely sharing “fact-based research” with those present.
Ms Evans offered to send audience members an electronic copy of the book, as well as selling copies at the event organised by Vote Leave – a rival group to the Farage-backed Grassroots Out organisation.
Both are vying for designation as the official Leave group ahead of the June 23 EU referendum.
Sitting on a platform with Ukip’s sole MP Douglas Carswell, she said: “[The book’s] poll found that the two least trusted voices on Europe are Tony Blair, which isn’t surprising, and also Nigel Farage.
“You might not like it, and I don’t like it either, but that is what the book says. They suggest you don’t put Ukip branding on campaign materials.”
Ms Evans added: “They say really even if you love Nigel Farage and you love Ukip, it’s best not mention it unless somebody else mentions it instead.”
Ms Evans went on to quote conclusions from the book which suggested campaigning solely on immigration in the EU referendum would not deliver victory for the Leave side.
The prominence that the issue of immigration should have in the Leave campaign is one of the main differences between Vote Leave – backed by Mr Carswell and Ms Evans – and Grassroots Out – supported by Mr Farage.
Ms Evans said there was a “purple ceiling” of around 15 to 20 per cent of the public who could be convinced to leave the EU purely over immigration concerns.
She said: “Outside of our particular bubble, what are the arguments that sway people? These are the people that we need to get hold of, it’s no good just preaching to the converted, how do we get on board those people who are yet to be convinced?
She added: “This book suggests that those people who are concerned about immigration have already mind their mind up, they are going to vote to leave.”
Ms Evans also cited claims in the book that the presence of the Ukip logo on campaign tools could turn people off from the Eurosceptic cause.
She said: “Ukip campaigners were handing out these bags as it was a great idea, but even people that wanted to leave the EU wouldn’t take the bags as they had Ukip on it.
“Now you might think that’s daft, but would you take a bag that had a Tory logo on it?”
Ms Evans was anointed by Mr Farage to succeed him as Ukip leader when he stood down following his failure to win a seat at last year’s General Election.
However, Mr Farage withdrew his resignation three days later, before Ms Evans could be officially installed as his successor.
She was subsequently stripped of her policy development role, and overlooked as Ukip’s candidate for Mayor of London ahead of the election in May.
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