UK Independence Party candidate Diane James pledged to fly to the USA with her own money for crunch talks with Ford bosses if she is elected as Eastleigh MP.

Members of UKIP, including MEP Paul Nuttall, the party’s deputy leader, visited the doomed Ford factory in Swaythling yesterday to speak to workers as they finished their shift.

Ms James said: “I’ll happily invest my own money to go across to the US if required and have a talk to the Ford officials. I am happy to do that with my own money behind it to see what I can negotiate.”

Ms James said she was “astonished” that production would be moved to Turkey.

She said: “It’s not a very good reflection on the UK Government that we are actually exporting jobs and we’re paying to export those jobs. What I have been picking up on the streets is absolute astonishment, much like my own, that the UK Government has done nothing to stand up for UK manufacturing.”

Mr Nuttall, MEP for the North West England region, said: “We think it’s obscene that in effect Britain is paying through its contributions to the European Investment Bank for its own jobs to be exported abroad and we’re not talking about it being exported to another country in the EU, although that would be bad enough, we are talking about Turkey, which isn’t even in the European Union at all."