THE established political parties are running scared of Ukip and doing anything they can to cling on to power, one of the party’s Euro MP candidates has claimed.

Richard Elvin’s inflammatory comments fired the starting gun on what looks set to be the North-East’s hardest fought Euro election campaign ever, after a ComRes poll predicted Ukip would top May 22’s national vote with 30 per cent, ahead of Labour (28), the Conservatives (21) and the Liberal Democrats (8).

In the North-East, Labour were at 41 per cent, ahead of Ukip (31), the Tories (14) and the Lib Dems (7).

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That would mean the Tories and Lib Dems both losing their single seat, with Labour winning two and Ukip the third.

Ahead of a hustings in Durham tonight (Monday, March 17), Mr Elvin said: “There’s a changing landscape in British politics and the established parties are running scared.

“They have had it their own way for far too long and they will do anything they can to cling on to power.”

Mr Elvin, who finished second in recent Westminster by-elections in South Shields and Middlesbrough, said leaving the European Union would save the UK millions of pounds every day.

Labour’s Judith Kirton-Darling said Ukip’s policies were “barmy”, including lifting the ban on handguns and imposing deeper austerity cuts.

Mr Elvin said he was not aware of the alleged handgun policy and while cuts were necessary, money currently sent to Europe could, under an independent UK, be invested in this country.

Conservative Ben Houchen said Ukip could not deliver change in the EU and only a Tory majority government would deliver an in-out referendum.

Lib Dem Angelika Schneider said voters had a “stark choice” between her party and Ukip and accused Ukip MEPs of failing to represent the North-East in Brussels.

Mr Elvin said MEPs had very little power as all laws originated from the European Commission.

Shirley Ford, for the Green Party, said accused Ukip of supporting a flat 30 per cent tax rate.

Mr Elvin said his party was considering a flat tax rate, but this would mean the lowest-paid taking home more money.

The debate was held at Durham University tonight (Monday, March 17).