The UK Independence Party’s growing presence in Watford could have a decisive impact on who is its next MP is, according to the party’s newly selected parliamentary candidate.
Nick Lincoln, who was elected to stand for the party in next year’s General Election last week, said the party would win enough votes next year to upset the established order in the town.
The 45-year-old financial advisor conceded it would be a tall order for the party to win the Watford seat.
Yet he pointed to recent local election results in Watford that showed the party was a threat to Labour as well as the Conservatives.
He said: "We have been taking votes from across the board and we have been picking up votes in lower to middle income wards.
"Not just Nascot and Park, but also Meriden, Stanborough and Leggatts. People like (Labour candidate) Matt Turmaine and (Conservative MP) Richard Harrington won’t know how many votes are going to UKIP.
"For the first time, we are going to take enough votes to have an influence."
The Watford seat has swung between Labour and the Conservatives ever since the town’s last Liberal MP was ousted in 1910.
Over the last two elections the Liberal Democrats have gained grounded and came a close second in 2010 when the Conservatives took the seat from Labour.
Next year Watford’s Conservative MP, Richard Harrington, is preparing to defend the seat, which he holds with a slender majority of 1,425 votes.
UKIP has stood in the town in last three General elections and never won more than 2.6 per cent of the vote.
However in the last few years the party has enjoyed a surge in the polls nationally that has seen it win around 15 per cent of the vote across Watford in the last two local elections.
Mr Lincoln, who is also the Watford UKIP branch chairman, said the political environment had changed radically since the 2010.
He said: "I think the tribal way people used to vote for the legacy parties has gone. It is dead in the water.
"People are so disenfranchised with the legacy parties they will vote for UKIP."
Mr Lincoln had voted Conservative himself at every General Election since 1987. Although by 2010 he was already disenchanted with the Tory party he had supported since he was 18 and only gave them his vote as he wanted to end Gordon Brown’s tenure in Number 10.
He said: "The Conservative campaign was that inept that I thought Brown, as useless as he was, could get back in. But I had no heart in voting Tory."
It was Nigel Farage that first piqued Mr Lincoln’s interest in UKIP and he joined the party in 2011.
He added: "I am a small government, libertarian kind of guy. Get out of people’s way and encourage people who want to better themselves and stay on the right side of the law.
"If we get a decent vote in places like Watford that will be millions of votes nationwide and the three legacy parties can’t ignore us."