UK INDEPENDENCE Party (Ukip) campaigners claimed they had parked tanks on Prime Minister David Cameron’s “patch” yesterday as they opened their first Oxfordshire office.

The party launched its General Election campaign from a building in East Saint Helen Street in Abingdon.

It plans to campaign in all the county’s constituencies, including in Prime Minister David Cameron’s Witney seat and the marginal Oxford West and Abingdon.

Ukip South East MEP Diane James, 55, joined the party’s candidates for a launch event in Abingdon and insisted the county was all to play for. She said: “We are parking our tanks on all the party lawns across the country.

“We are not frightened of campaigning in places like Oxfordshire, even though it is David Cameron’s patch and they are seen as Conservative strongholds.

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“The bigger parties do not understand how to tackle insurgent parties like Ukip, so we do feel we have a good chance here.”

Oxford West and Abingdon prospective parliamentary candidate Alan Harris, 47, said he hoped to appeal to areas such as Abingdon and Kidlington, where there is opposition to the expansion of Oxford beyond its ring road.

The father-of-four said: “People here do not just want to be a suburb of Oxford. We are not opposed to all development but we are against building on the Green Belt [around the city].” The Abingdon office will be used as a base by the party while it campaigns around the county and is expected to be open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Oxfordshire constituency organiser Dickie Bird said the party’s membership in Oxfordshire had increased “massively” in the last two years. The party now has between 500 and 600 members in Oxfordshire.

Retired police officer Jim Abram, 62, said his main reason for backing the party was its call for a referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

He said: “I am very concerned about the sovereignty of our country and I do not want us to become just a star on a flag. Locally, I also feel too much countryside is being built over with housing.”