UKIP candidate Nick Smith talks to The Linc about Brexit, Lincolnshire infrastructure and tuition fees.  

Nick Smith is UKIP’s candidate for Lincoln in this year’s General Election. Photo: Nick Smith.

If you could have dinner with three celebrities, alive or dead, who and why?

Nigel Farage, to thank him for his commitment to getting the referendum. Secondly, Field Marshal Montgomery. I’d like to ask him why he got so bold with Market Garden and if he believed it was a success. Lastly, Winston
Churchill. I’d like him to talk about the last major cavalry charge at the Battle of Omdurman, where Churchill himself fought.

What are the biggest issues for Lincoln going into this election? 

Infrastructure. We need to invest into our infrastructure to encourage more companies to come to Lincoln. This will be the biggest priority for our MP, as it will also bring in more jobs. Roads and rail connections are also a big issue for Lincoln.

How will you represent students as an MP?

As an MP, I will represent students and other local residents equally. If a UKIP government were to be elected, it would save students doing degrees of the most importance to the country, such as medicine and sciences their tuition fees.

On the topic of tuition fees, your manifesto promises to scrap tuition fees for medicine and sciences, but also maths, engineering and technology. Why not fees as a whole, or why not other subjects?

If it was affordable to scrap all the tuition fees that the Labour government under Tony Blair brought in, we would, but people would accuse us of more austerity if we had to lay off thousands of staff and tutors as a result of scrapping tuition fees.

Staying with education, your manifesto pledges to build a grammar school in every town. Are you in favour of grammar schools?

Yes. It gives the academically gifted the best chance by selection when resources are finite – this seems like an obvious solution. Resources have and always will be finite.

But what about families who might not be able to afford the costs of grammar schools, such as tutors for the 11 Plus or school uniforms? 

Anyone who is well-off tends to head to private school, but there will always be rich people who have an advantage, unless you condone a communist state this will always occur. But even in the USSR there were still rich and poor. Life is unfair, and this is something politicians need to come clean about and stop promising that if elected they will make the country fairer.

Brexit is happening – so what role should UKIP play in British politics? 

Brexit is far from certain to go ahead. So far, nearly a year since voting to leave, an old lady has sent a letter of intent to the EU. That’s all we have achieved so far. We are needed far into the future as I don’t see the Tory party pulling off any meaningful Brexit negotiations. David Davis has already conceded that we will have to pay for access to the single market, of which all countries have access to but none pay for. Then there is the issue of controlling immigration. No other party can be trusted with this task, and although the Tories talk about it and promise, they fail to deliver.

The UK is in a vulnerable position after the Manchester attacks. How can UKIP keep us safe? 

By taking a very strong stance on security, and bringing in the head-covering ban in public places as one measure. We also aim to recruit many more police and troops. The most important move is to be proactive on suspects we know about – make their life a misery so they don’t have time to plot. This will mean investing in more resources for our security services to watch the most dangerous.

Will a ban on head coverings actually do anything to keep us safe?

The first duty of any government is the protection of its citizens. On this point, the current government has failed. Had the bomber been unknown to authorities, it could be argued that nothing could be done to prevent it, but this is not the case. The population expect, and demand, a firm action. Removal of passports would be a start, and also denial of citizenship and ergo their passports for those fighting for terrorists organisations abroad. These things could be done right away but our politicians choose to wring their hands and try to convince us that it’s all too impossible to stop future attacks. My answer to that is hogwash, you are just the wrong people with the wrong policies at the wrong time. My heart goes out to the people of Manchester and I pray that we get politicians this time with a backbone and a can do attitude to combat this threat.

Are things such as wanting blue British passport back and making June 23rd a public bank holiday really important?

I believe the blue passport is important as it’s a symbol of an independent sovereign nation. The public holiday on the other would not be such an issue for me – though perhaps we could make the day we leave a bank holiday instead, when that date occurs.

UKIP are the only major party not producing a learning disability friendly manifesto – what are your thoughts on this? 

This is probably due to the amount of funding we get, as we get a lot less than other parties.

While this may be true, the Green Party received £58,170 of donations from members, compared to UKIP’s £256,910. Is this putting a price on disabled voters?

It’s well above my pay grade I’m afraid. We have never done one in the past and I had no idea that such a thing existed.