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  1. National

Nigel Farage: 'I'll write my speech at lunchtime'

Just hours before he addresses Ukip's annual conference, Nigel Farage has revealed he has not yet written his keynote speech.

He told LBC Radio: "I've been so busy this week I haven't yet had time to even sit down and write the speech, that's going to happen at lunchtime. I'll work it out later."

Asked about Ed Miliband's recent conference speech, the Ukip leader said there was not "a great deal of passion, or fire, or belief or connection" in the Labour leader's delivery.

  1. National

Farage: Postal voting in the north 'rife with fraud'

Nigel Farage has claimed Labour have overseen the emergence of a fraud-ridden postal voting system in northern English constituencies "which would not be out of place in a country like Zimbabwe".

Nigel Farage will address Ukip activists in Doncaster today. Credit: Danny Lawson/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Writing in the Independent, the Ukip leader says Labour's dominance of northern England "has resulted in the emergence of a postal vote system rife with fraud and intimidation".

Ukip are holding their annual conference today in the Yorkshire town of Doncaster, a move Mr Farage describes as "parking our tanks on a rival party's lawn".

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  1. National

Ukip poised to take 'a number of seats' in 2015

Ukip could take a number of seats from Labour in next year's general election, research by the University of Nottingham showed.

Vulnerable areas include:

  • Shadow women's minister Gloria de Piero's Ashfield constituency.
  • Retiring veteran Austin Mitchell's Great Grimsby
  • Sarah Champion's Rotherham, where Ukip came second in a recent by-election.
  • And Plymouth North View and Dudley North.
  1. National

Ukip try to capture 'blue collar' vote at conference

The UK Independence Party (Ukip) will directly try to capture the "blue collar" vote as they kick off their annual conference later today.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage is expected to accuse Labour of failing low-paid workers. Credit: PA

Ukip will outline plans to help low-paid workers by overhauling income and capital gains taxes, and set out reforms for the NHS.

It will also pledge to transform the way military veterans are treated by guaranteeing long-servers a job in the police, border force or prison service when they return to civvy street.

Nigel Farage's party are holding their conference in the town Labour leader Ed Miliband represents, Doncaster.

Mr Farage who will fight South Thanet, Kent, in next May's election, is expected to use his keynote speech this afternoon to make a "full frontal assault" on the Opposition, claiming it has failed the people it was founded to represent.

Ukip MEP: "We've not been afraid to answer difficult questions."

Amjad Bashir, one of three Ukip MEPs in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, said his party was 'overjoyed' with the result:

It shows the hard work that we've put in. We've not been afraid to go out to the public, be asked difficult questions and answer those difficult questions.

We've also listened and other parties have failed to do that.

– Amjad Bashir MEP, Ukip

The businessman from Leeds also said his election showed his party is not a racist organisation:

Here I am, of Asian birth, of Asian parentage, Muslim, and I have been selected by this so-called racist party. It disproves that completely.

The party, in selecting me, I was voted in, it was a democratic process where the whole party nationally voted for me. I got the second highest number of votes and, therefore, I was selected for the area.

– Amjad Bashir MEP, Ukip

Ukip topped the poll in the Yorkshire and the Humber region with more than 400,000 votes.

Rotherham, where the party did well in Thursday's council election, was one of the earliest to see the party come in first. It was followed by others including Wakefield, York, Selby and North East Lincolnshire.

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UKIP candidate Roger Helmer speaks to Newark voters

Roger Helmer, the Ukip MEP for the East Midlands, is to fight the parlimentary by-election in Newark next month.

Roger Helmer in Newark today

He has been out in the constituency today speaking to voters about the seat he will contest instead of party leader Nigel Farage who said his candidacy would be a distraction.

The seat was vacated by former Tory MP Patrick Mercer who resigned after a cash for questions scandal.

The by-election will be held on June 5.

The Conservatives have selected Robert Jenrick to try to retain the seat after Mercer's resignation while Labour's candidate is Michael Payne.

The Liberal Democrats are expected to announce their choice in the coming days while the Buss Pass Elvis party are also likely to announce their runner.

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