Members of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) plan to field a full slate of candidates across Solihull next year, following their unprecedented success in last week’s local elections.
Phil Henrick, chairman of the Solihull and Meriden branch, said his party’s “common sense policies” had appealed to many voters, dismissing criticism that UKIP supporters were “little Englanders”.
“We’re drawing support from all sorts of people,” said Mr Henrick. “There are some who haven’t voted in years because they haven’t been interested in what the other parties have to say.
“Obviously we have people who used to vote Tory, but we’re also attracting old Labour and Lib Dem voters. In Solihull, our support comes from right across the borough.”
The eurosceptic group won more than 140 seats at last week’s local elections - there was no vote in the West Midlands, but elsewhere UKIP capturing an average of 25 per cent of the vote in the wards where it stood.
In Solihull, the party has not previously made any in-roads, polling less than 3 per cent in the 2010 General Election and failing to field a single candidate in the borough elections last year.
But the local branch say there has been an explosion of interest, with plans to contest every one of the borough’s 17 wards next May.
Mr Henrick, a former Conservative supporter from Dorridge, said that previous comments by Tory grandee Ken Clarke that UKIP were “clowns” had been ill-judged.
“It’s not a wise thing to say. More than a million people voted for us across the country last week.”
Meriden’s Conservative MP Caroline Spelman said: “I did not find many people on the doorstep admit to voting for UKIP but if they did it was for a wide range of reasons not just the independence of the UK from the European Union.
“Conservatives are responding to public concerns. We understand why some people want us to do more to help hardworking people, help with the cost of living and sort out the issues they care about like reducing immigration further and reforming the welfare system.”