Parliamentary candidates in Peterborough have hit out at claims from Ukip leader Nigel Farage that there is little cohesion in the city.
Mr Farage made the comments speaking on the Today progamme on BBC Radio 4 yesterday (Thursday).
You just have to stand in town to see a range of ethnicities getting on with their daily lives, collaborating, communicating and helping each other.Darren Fower
His comments came after he was asked to clarify his desire to live in a community where children play football in the streets together in the evening and where society is at ease with itself.
Challenged to name market towns where children did not play in the streets because of immigration, the eurosceptic said: “Just travel up the eastern spine of England. Go to Peterborough, go to Boston, go and see the fact that we don’t have integration under what’s happened.
“Unsurprisingly, in some ways what’s happened with very large numbers of people coming is you get quarters and districts of towns and cities that get taken over by one particular group.”
But Stewart Jackson, Conservative candidate for Peterborough in next months general election, said: “I think Mr Farage’s comments are inaccurate and were off the top of his head and bear no relation to how things really are in Peterborough.
“The issue of large scale immigration is of course acute and a legitimate concern of all local residents but we generally have harmonious community relations and whilst things aren’t perfect we don’t have the divisions and conflict between communities seen in some parts of the country.”
Lisa Forbes, who is standing for Labour next month, said: “We are a very diverse city, but there are no issues with integration in Peterborough.
“I think he (Mr Farage) is stoking up flames that are not really there.
“I don’t know if he has been to Peterborough to see what it is like here, but we do not have that tension.
“I believe council officers have done a lot for community cohesion, which is why we do not have this sort of issue here.”
And Darren Fower, representing the Liberal Democrats, said: “This is the sort of thing we have come to expect from Ukip.
“Peterborough has plenty of positive examples of social integration.
“You just have to stand in town to see a range of ethnicities getting on with their daily lives, collaborating, communicating and helping each other.
“Of course there are a couple of examples of tensions, but 99 per cent of people here are getting on.”