Yorkshire businessman and well known Eurosceptic Paul Sykes is delighted with the support he has received since launching his campaign this week calling on the Government to suspend the relaxation of border regulations on January 1.
He commissioned a poll by YouGov which showed 74 percent of people in Yorkshire rejected the lifting of border restrictions.
Mr Sykes has used the findings as a springboard to announce plans to finance the promotional campaign for Ukip in next May’s European elections.
He has also set up a new website areyoulisteningprimeminister.com to mobilise public opinion.
Mr Sykes said pressure was growing around the country, as well as in Yorkshire, to ‘break free from Brussels’ and he sees support for Ukip in next year’s Europeanelections as the best way to achieve that.
Speaking to the Harrogate Advertiser series, he said he expected the campaign to gather momentum in the run-up to January 1.
“You cannot call yourself an independent country if you surrender all controls over your borders. 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 in defiance of public opinion, we have to draw the line somewhere.”
Mr Sykes, who developed the Meadhowhall shopping centre in Sheffield, lives near Ripon and has his business offices in Harrogate.
He has given large amounts to North Yorkshire charities including the Royal Hall and Ripon Cathedral.
He has long argued against control from Brussels and sees no difficulty in leaving the EU.
“The EU is basically run by a commission that is not elected. We need an enormous awareness campaign and that is what I have decided to pay for, to make sure that everyone knows what the EU is about.”
“The main thing first is for David Cameron not to remove the borders on January 1.”
Mr Sykes will not be drawn on any plans he has after May’s European election for continuing to give Ukip financial help in the General Election. Neither will he be drawn on his political plans after May.
“I won’t make any decisions on anything until we win the EU elections.
“I really believe Ukip will do well, and then no political party can deny that seismic shift in public opinion and commit to an early referendum.”
Up to Wednesday night, nearly 17,000 had signed Mr Sykes’ online petition calling on the Government to suspend indefinitely the relaxing of the UK’s border restrictions due to take place on January 1.