Eastleigh Ukip members have angrily rejected a suggestion from Conservative big wigs that the two parties should form an electoral pact in the next general election
Conservative vice-chairman Michael Fabricant, has proposed the Euro sceptic party should stand aside in 2015 in return for an ‘in-out’ referendum on EU membership arguing that the deal could win the Tories an additional 20 to 40 a marginal seats.
Although the idea has been rejected by the Conservative party leadership, it has found some support among Tory backbenchers.
One key marginal is Eastleigh, where only 568 votes separated the Conservatives from the Lib Dems in 2005 and where there could be a by- election next year if current MP Chris Huhne is forced to stand down as a result of his forthcoming trial on charges of perverting the course of justice – should he be found guilty
In 2005 the Conservative candidate Conor Burns – now MP for Bournemouth West- talked about his narrow loss to Ukip in a blog post unambiguously entitled ‘Blame Ukip’ where he said of Eastleigh’s Ukip supporters:
” I know from talking to many of them that they would otherwise have been Conservative voters. They almost certainly secured the election of Chris Huhne.”
Although some Tories may welcome the idea of Ukip standing aside, Nigel Farage the Ukip leader, certainly did not, saying his party was ‘at war’ with the conservatives.
No deals with the Tories; it’s war. fb.me/240tUs7zF
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 25, 2012
His view was echoed by the Ukip Parish Councillor for Bishopstoke Martin Lyon.
Lyon is one of two Ukip Parish Councillors in the Borough and while there has been speculation that Farage might stand in Eastleigh should a bye-election be called, Lyon has been tipped as a potential Ukip Parliamentary Party Candidate for Eastleigh for 2015.
Cllr Lyon told Eastleigh News:
“As a recently elected UKIP councillor, I do not need to make a pact with the Tories, or Labour or the Liberal-Democrats”.
“There is no way I would step down to ease the path of a Tory
The row coincides with new evidence that public opinion is hardening against the EU. Pollsters Com Res have published a survey in The Independent today which reveals that 54 per cent of Brits want to see the country out of the EU – provided it can keep its trade arrangements with other member states -while only 36 per cent want to stay in.
See also: Farage cat tale snares May