UKIP leader Nigel Farage joined representatives from Labour and the Conservatives for a major anti-EU rally in Bournemouth on Saturday.

More than 700 people attended the cross-party event, hosted at the BIC, where Mr Farage told fellow campaigners: “It’s not about Left and Right, it’s about right and wrong.”

Speaking to the Daily Echo ahead of the conference, Mr Farage said he had enjoyed teaming up with former political foes and that it had been “a pleasure to share platforms with people who have said absolutely appalling things about me over the years”.

Bournemouth Echo:

Nigel Farage speaking to the Daily Echo before the rally

“Democracy crosses all traditional boundaries,” he said. “It’s quite encouraging to see that people have been prepared to lay aside their normal tribal differences.”

Mr Farage said he believes the contest between leave and remain is currently “Even Stevens”.

“The big picture is what the polls were last May and what the polls are now. After the general election, those of us that were worried about the relationship with the European Union and felt it was in need of radical change were in a distinct minority.

“As those 11 months have gone on, we’ve seen people’s worries, suspicions about the European project growing.

“I think the economics of it is going to tire people out. One side saying we’ll be worse off, another side, as I believe, saying we could and should be a lot better off. I think in the end it comes down to simpler questions. It comes down to where do we feel safest? Where do we feel the most secure?”

Labour veteran Kate Hoey told the BIC audience that there are "quiet voters" who support Labour and fear they will be considered "nutty" for wanting to leave the EU.

Bournemouth Echo:

Kate Hoey on stage at the BIC

Speaking to the Echo, the former sports minister said she was happy to share a stage with UKIP and the Conservatives, and wants to put “the positive case for leaving”.

“This is such a huge opportunity for our country to become independent again, to become a trading nation with the world, to look out internationally,” said Ms Hoey.

“There is a democratic argument that is incredibly important to me, and the fact that we do need to get control back of our own laws and what we do. Linked into that is having control of our borders. There is nothing wrong with wanting control of who is coming into the country.

“I would like to see much greater priority given to Commonwealth countries and those people who have a historic link to our country – and ultimately we decide who comes in in terms of the skills they’ve got and what’s needed – just like Australia. I don’t see why anybody should find something wrong with that.

“At the moment we are in with 27 other countries – many of them we have absolutely no historic links – they can come in whenever they want to. Why should we give priority to the European Union and not to countries in Africa, Australia and elsewhere.”

Tories Peter Bone and Tom Pursglove, director of the Go campaign Helen Harrison, Bournemouth West MP Conor Burns and Christchurch MP Chris Chope also all spoke at the event in support of the leave campaign.

Bournemouth Echo:

Conor Burns speaks during the rally at the BIC 

A running theme was the leaflet distributed by the government making its case for the UK to remain, which Mr Pursglove described as “pro-EU propaganda”.

Concluding the conference, Mr Farage said: “We have got 72 days to beat the big banks, to beat the multinationals, to beat the federal bureaucrats… it is up to us to organise, to mobilise, and I want every one of you to join our people’s army.”

The referendum will take place on June 23. Its announcement came after Prime Minister David Cameron reached a deal with fellow European leaders, including a commitment that the UK would not be part of “an ever closer union”, along with benefits changes for EU migrants.

Several members of the remain campaign staged a protest on the steps of the BIC before and during the rally.

The Green Party, which organised the demonstration, released a statement prior to the protest, which said: “Greens want Britain to remain a part of the EU because we believe that we need to work together on shared solutions to the collective challenges we face.

"Climate change, the pollution of our oceans, terrorism and the refugee crisis show no respect for borders and require collaborative and cooperative solutions.

"The EU has shown just how important it is at defending out rights and freedoms, improving animal welfare and challenging the power of multinational corporations and global finance."