Former Conservative Party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant has said that he warned Prime Minister David Cameron and the party leadership about the rise of UKIP, but was repeatedly ignored.
In an interview with the local Express & Star newspaper, the Litchfield MP said that he came up with the idea of a Conservative pact with UKIP in order to draw attention to the issue.
Mr Fabricant gave details of the air of complacency in Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ), with party officials still talking about UKIP as a “fruitcakes” and “loonies”, and calling them a “flash in the pan”, despite rising poll numbers.
He said that he came up with the idea of this pact in order to grab headlines and focus the party’s attention on the growing problem.
“I talked about this pact with UKIP, and to be honest with you, not because I ever believed there would be a pact but because I got so fed up saying to David Cameron and officials at Number 10 and CCHQ about the dangers of UKIP top-slicing our vote and them all saying ‘no it’s a flash in the pan’, ‘they’re all loonies’, ‘they’re all fruit cakes’, ‘don’t worry about it’,” he said.
“I thought the only way I can get the message out there is by coming up with a headline-grabbing thing about the pact.”
UKIP are now riding high in the polls for the forthcoming European Elections, with all three establishment parties desperate to stop them doing well. The mainstream media have been reporting a string of allegations about party activists in an attempt to discredit it, but nothing seems to be denting its popularity.
“A year ago DC [David Cameron] would not dare talk about UKIP. And now he’s talking about it extensively,” Mr Fabricant added.
Michael Fabricant has represented Litchfield in parliament since 1992. Earlier this year he was sacked as deputy chairman of the Conservative Party after tweeting it was “about time” when Culture Secretary Maria Miller resigned after her expenses scandal. He is also a staunch opponent of government plans to build a high speed rail line between London and Birmingham, which will cut through his constituency.