THE national chairman of the UK Independence Party revealed today exclusively to the North Devon Journal that he’s been selected as the party’s candidate in North Devon for the next general election.
North Devon born Steven Crowther stood in 2010 and is known locally for his support of the Slay the Array campaign and anti-development group Defend North Devon.
The North Devon seat has been held by Liberal Democrat Nick Harvey since 1992.
Mr Crowther said: “I like Nick Harvey personally, as I know many people do, but even when he achieved ministerial office it’s a little hard to see how his 22 years as MP has really benefited North Devon.
“His party is in favour of the European Union, open-border immigration, the great wind-turbine rip-off and the mass housebuilding bonanza that’s filling up the developers’ land-banks. In fact, in all those respects it’s indistinguishable from the Conservatives.
“North Devonians have long let it be known that they disapprove of the EU and all its works – UKIP tops the poll here in European elections by ever-increasing margins. I think they are ready to make history by being among the first half-dozen constituencies to return a UKIP MP in 2015.”
In 2010 Mr Crowther narrowly beat Labour candidate Mark Cann into third place by more than a thousand votes, leaving him behind Nick Harvey and Conservative candidate for 2010 Philip Milton.
Crowther was one of only four UKIP candidates nationally to achieve third place.
He said: “It’s an odd fact that for the past four years, UKIP has technically been the third party along the whole north coast, from Stag’s Head to Bedruthan Steps.
“However, I hope to do a good deal better next year. National polling has put us ahead of the Liberal Democrats for most of the past year, and although this has been a Liberal seat historically, I think North Devonians are ready for something new and different – which clearly isn’t their coalition partners, the Conservatives.”
Mr Crowther candidate was appointed UKIP national chairman in 2010 when Nigel Farage was re-elected as the party’s leader.
In his role as chairman Mr Crowther has focused on UKIP’s policies toward energy in particular renewable energy such as wind turbines.
Mr Crowther is known locally for his opposition to the now scrapped Atlantic Array plans.
“Fighting the Array was an incredibly important battle, and one which we always believed we could win”, he said.
“It was a political fight, to show that North Devon should not have to pay the price for successive governments’ catastrophic energy planning.
“We rallied people from all over the country to the cause – because people all over the country love this place, and want to see its wild rugged beauty preserved.
"We had eight times as many people sign up for the enquiry as any previous offshore wind farm, and we showed, with others, that this was simply the wrong place to build the world’s second largest turbine array, alongside Lundy Island.”