These Rochester & Strood Voters Back Mark Reckless On Repatriation

    Mark Reckless' comments about sending immigrants back home might actually be a vote winner.

    Mark Reckless, UKIP's candidate in the Rochester and Strood by-election, has been forced to deny claims he backs deporting EU migrants.

    Asked in an ITV debate what should happen to a Polish plumber who was already legally working in the UK, Reckless appeared to suggest that they may have to leave the country.

    He said: "In the near term we'd have to have a transitional period, and I think we should probably allow people who are currently here to have a work permit at least for a fixed period."

    UKIP swiftly disowned the remarks and said Reckless' views were not party policy.

    Despite this, voters in tomorrow's by-election were in no rush to dismiss the idea. BuzzFeed News spoke to eight voters in the constituency, six of whom agreed with repatriation, with some saying Reckless's comments made them more likely to vote for him.

    "It's a sensible idea, send them back."

    Jamie Ross / BuzzFeed

    Mr. Gilkes is an undecided voter, but Mark Reckless's comments have made him more likely to vote UKIP.

    "I like the idea of sending them back," he said. "Any illegals have to go because they're a drain on the system," said Gilkes, but repatriation shouldn't be limited to EU immigrants: "Asians and Africans are causing most of the problems, not the EU ones."

    "England should tell immigrants who want benefits to fuck off."

    Jamie Ross / BuzzFeed News

    Daan, who is himself an immigrant, is struggling to decide between UKIP and the Conservatives, but he likes what he's heard from Reckless on repatriation.

    "I moved to Britain 50 years ago, but immigration is out of hand now," he said. Immigrants should get "no welfare", and the French government needs to take action to stop immigrants from making it over the Channel. "I'd like it if immigrants were sent back," he said, "but even better let's stop immigration entirely."

    "Send them back, unless they have a local accent."

    Jamie Ross / BuzzFeed

    Graham Powell didn't want to say who he's voting for, but he thinks immigrants are a problem.

    He accepts that immigrants have been coming to Britain "since the time of the vikings and the romans", but he's unconvinced by the current crop. "If they have a local accent, that means they're integrated, they can stay," he said. However, he thinks they should be deported "if they're illegal, or if they're begging on the streets."

    "Send them back if they have no trade or no job."

    Roy Williams, who didn't want to be photographed, is definitely voting UKIP.

    "It's quite right," he said, on repatriation. He said he's worked 72 years old and has never claimed state benefits, but said he would have been able to if he had "a different colour face". "If immigrants have jobs, pay their own way, then fine," he said, but it becomes an issue when the immigrants are "sending all their money back home to children we don't even know exist."

    Jamie Ross is a Scotland reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Edinburgh.

    Contact Jamie Ross at jamie.ross@buzzfeed.com.

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