Former Conservative Party chairman Norman Tebbit has called for his party to make pact with the UK Independence Party. Speaking to the Times, the party grandee said that the Conservatives should stop “abusing” former voters who have gone over to Nigel Farage’s party and do a seat-swapping deal.
He said that the parties should co-ordinate in targeting marginal Lib Dem and Labour seats, with UKIP standing down candidates in seats that the Conservatives can win and vice versa.
Speaking to the Times, Lord Tebbit said: “I think a pact would be sensible after the European election. Where a Ukip candidate has more chance of defeating Labour and the Lib Dems we should stand back and let them fight that seat.
“Conversely, where the Tories look likely to beat the Lib Dems or Labour, UKIP should stand back.
“It would be relatively easy to work out who should contest which seats.”
Lord Tebbit also added that abusing voters who had left the Tories for UKIP was damaging the party’s electoral prospects: “It would help if we didn’t abuse former Tory voters by attacking UKIP as nutters,” he said.
He added that Tories were in danger of looking like a party of “jealous shopkeepers” who are “shouting abuse” at former customers.
The Conservatives should instead look at what UKIP are doing differently, and offer their former supporters “stock they wanted”.
These comments come as a major new study reveals that UKIP have the potential to garner the support of up to 30 percent of the electorate.
The study analysed the views of 100,000 voters, and showed that support from UKIP does not only originate from Euroscepticism, but also opposition to mass immigration and dissatisfaction with the political establishment.
Almost a third of voters share at least two of these views.