UKIP leader Nigel Farage yesterday hinted that he may be prepared to accept joint Conservative-UKIP candidates in next year’s General Election. The Daily Mail reports that he suggested that some sitting Conservative Eurosceptic MPs may support the idea in order to prevent a split in the right-wing anti-EU vote in 2015.
Standing for two parties simultaneously was authorised in a little-reported change in the law last year. Some Conservatives had initially feared that the Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 might lead to some government ministers standing on a joint Conservative-Liberal Democrat Coalition ticket, but this now seems highly unlikely.
The Conservative MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Nadine Dorries, last year became the first Tory parliamentarian to express a desire to run on a joint UKIP-Conservative ticket. She told the Spectator that she was considering the move because members of her association were confused about whether to support UKIP of the Conservatives.
She said: “They have always been Conservative and will never change their allegiance but feel very much as though they have a huge amount of empathy with Ukip. I feel it would be a travesty if Ukip came in and took the seats off our councillors or indeed me when actually their policies and their beliefs are very much Ukip. Because what we have done, we have thrown clothes off and they have picked them up and put them on.”
A senior Conservative source told the Mail, however, that the party would never permit such an arrangement: “There is absolutely no question of anyone standing on a joint ticket with Ukip. We wouldn’t allow it.”