THE deputy leader of UKIP last night said he was “exceptionally confident” the party could win its first Euro seat in the North-East in May’s European elections.

Paul Nuttall, who was visiting Stockton to host a public meeting tonight (TUESDAY), said UKIP had trebled its membership in the region in the last three years and was on course to get at least one MEP elected here.

He accused Labour of no longer representing the “working man” and said: “I have thought since 2007 that the traditional Labour voter is there for the taking because these people have got nothing in common with New Labour and the Metropolitan elite. I don’t believe in political spectrums.”

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The MEP also welcomed the BBC’s announcement that it would screen a live debate between deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg and UKIP leader Nigel Farage ahead of this year’s European elections, and said there would be a “national outcry” if UKIP was not involved in live television debates ahead of the 2015 General Election.

He also defended the party against recent criticism, accusing the main political parties of a witch hunt against UKIP.

Mr Nuttall said that at least one quarter of UKIP’s new MEPs would be women, deflecting criticism that his party was sexist.

UKIP North-East MEP candidate Richard Elvin joined Mr Nuttall on a stall in Stockton High Street as the party tried to woo potential voters.