Local UKIP activists in South Thanet have been quoted in the Financial Times saying that Nigel Farage will run for the seat at the 2015 General Election. In July Breitbart London exclusively revealed that Farage had been forced to delay his final announcement because he wanted to know who the Conservative Party would select.
Despite FT reports of a three man shortlist for Thanet South and a hustings date of 26th August, a spokeswoman for UKIP made it clear that there was no timetable for the selection yet. She also stressed that Farage cannot simply pick whichever seat he wants, he would have to apply for the seat like any other member. In practice, however, it is accepted by all sides that whichever House of Commons seat Farage applies for he will get.
Rozanne Duncan, UKIP’s Thanet South party secretary, said of Farage’s candidature: “It is the worst-kept secret in town… We now have two names on the list and one of them is Mr Farage. Whether he will get selected or not is another matter . . . although I’d be surprised if he doesn’t.”
Breitbart London understands that over the last few months UKIP HQ have been secretly sifting through the potential options. Earlier this year they had come up with a shortlist of two: Castle Point and Thanet South.
Thanet South has two key advantages over Castle Point, firstly its MP Laura Sandys is standing down and secondly it is in Farage’s home county of Kent. Castle Point is the seat of Conservative Party Vice-Chairman Rebecca Harris, who is widely accepted to be a good campaigner. Also Castle Point is in Essex and moving to a different county is something that Farage had wanted to avoid if possible.
UKIP did well in both areas in May and they are likely to feature heavily in the party’s plans to concentrate fire on a small number of winnable seats next year. Behind the scenes they are fairly confident they will win a number of seats but party managers believe a Farage win is vital to building a successful parliamentary party.
After the election UKIP MPs are expected to work very closely with the Democratic Unionist Party in Parliament. They share a number of UKIPs aims, and have eight MPs and four members of the House of Lords so an informal arrangement could leave both sides with a reasonable amount of Parliamentary support.