UKIP will probably win seats at the General Election in 2015 in the South Yorks area – particularly Rotherham as in the European elections earlier this year. What most locals don’t know is that one of the keys secrets to UKIP’s success is that it has the most secure funding of any political party and that comes from a local businessman (and former Scrap Merchant) who made his millions (650 of them at the last count) partly by building the Meadowhall shopping Centre.
Self-made businessman promises to do “whatever it takes” to help Ukip top the polls in May
The UK Independence Party will receive a multi-million pound boost before next year’s European elections after winning support from one of Britain’s wealthiest businessmen.
Paul Sykes, a self-made tycoon and veteran of the campaign to keep the pound 15 years ago, has promised to do “whatever it takes” to help Ukip top the polls in May.
His move deals a big blow to the Conservatives as they fight to contain Nigel Farage’s party.
Paul Sykes tells the BBC: “The only party that’s offering a clear referendum in and out now is Ukip and that’s the reason I’m supporting it.”
Mr Sykes supported the Tories under Margaret Thatcher and Michael Howard, but has backed Ukip in the past, giving the party £1.5 million in 2004.
His latest investment in the party is expected to run into several millions. He told the Telegraph that he wanted to finance Ukip’s efforts to pull Britain out of the EU.
“It is time to tell the truth and let the people decide … I want this country to get back to becoming a self-governing nation,” he said.
“That is what I am in it for. I am not going to sit here and do nothing. It’s my final thing this, it’s my Waterloo.”
Paul Sykes is putting his millions where his mouth is, he tells Philip Johnston
David Cameron’s promise of a referendum on a renegotiated EU settlement by 2017 has not stemmed the flow of support to Ukip, with many Tory Euro-sceptics unpersuaded that he can deliver a new deal for Britain.
A key development will be the removal of barriers to Romanian and Bulgarian citizens working in Britain from Jan 1. Mr Sykes, who spent an estimated £6 million campaigning against the UK joining the single currency with Sir James Goldsmith in the Nineties, has commissioned a poll showing that 74 per cent of the public are opposed to the free movement of labour from the two countries. Just 15 per cent said they were in favour.
“As a nation state, Britain is drinking in the last chance saloon,” said Mr Sykes, who in a 2010 Rich List was estimated to be worth £650 million.
“Our failure to exert any control over our border with the 27 other members of the EU means that we are on the brink of abolishing ourselves as an independent country and consigning 1,000 years of nationhood to the dustbin of history.”
He added: “I have nothing against people from Romania and Bulgaria, but given the four million immigrants we have absorbed since 1997, and given the prospect that the end of transitional controls on two of the poorest countries on the continent will trigger another wave of mass immigration … you have to drawn the line somewhere.”
Mr Sykes said he was not a Ukip member and had no party political motivation behind his decision to provide the party with funds.
“I am in this to give people a say about their future,” he said.
“We are going to roll some guns out … every person in Britain will get to know a lot more from our campaign than they have ever got to know from all the other campaigns put together.”
Mr Farage said: “I have worked with Paul and been close to him over many years and I have never seen him so determined as he is today. I have said for a long time now that I wanted to cause an earthquake on May 22 next year, and with people like Paul Sykes working with us that makes it more likely.”