Paul Nuttall has pledged to scrap VAT on fish and chips as he laid out his vision to woo Labour voters in Brexit Britain in his first speech to the Ukip party conference as leader.
In his speech to the party faithful in Bolton, Mr Nuttall pledged to cut foreign aid, slash taxes and pump more money into health and housing.
And he promised to take domestic energy bills and hot food out of VAT - a move he said would make traditional British fish and chips “cheap as chips again”.
Mr Nuttall said the backlash he had encountered running in Stoke Central was a sign that Ukip had Labour “on the run”.
Labour under Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership had “nothing in common with the working class communities they traditionally represent”, Mr Nuttall said.
He added: “I am more confident than ever that Ukip will eventually replace the Labour Party as the voice of the patriotic working class.”
Mr Nuttall told the conference that he accepted the blame for the false claim, made on his website, that he lost close friends in the Hillsborough footballing tragedy.
But he hit out at the “smear campaign” against him after doubts were cast over whether he was actually at the 1989 crush, in which 96 people lost their lives.
He said: “Many people will notice that I’ve had a bit of a difficult week.
“This is two-fold, actually. Firstly, I take the blame for the fact that I failed to check what was up on my website in my name, that was my fault and I apologise.
“But I will not apologise for what is a coordinated, cruel and almost evil smear campaign that has been directed at me.
“It is based on lies from sources who have not been named. It has been a tough week for me but I will not allow them to break me and I will not allow them to break Ukip.”
Looking up at the audience, he said: “I was also asked by two journalists yesterday if I still have the support of my party.”
His words were met with a standing ovation and large cheers for the party faithful as one man in the crowd shouted “take that”.
Taking his glasses off and wiping a tear from his eye, Mr Nuttall said: “Thank you, I’m a bit overwhelmed. Thank you.”