Conservative supporters who vote UKIP in this month’s European Elections are like men on a stag night indulging in a bit of bad behaviour before settling down and being sensible, the Prime Minister’s communications chief has suggested.
at a private meeting, Craig Oliver is said to have compared UKIP voters to men who want “a last chance to have a bit of fun” before returning to the Conservatives at the next General Election.
The event was organised for BBC journalists and executives under the “Chatham House rules” that are supposed to preserve anonymity for speakers, but some of those present have decided to break the rule and report Mr Oliver’s comments.
One person present told the Independent: “I don’t know if it was an attempt at humour but it didn’t really come across that way. I remember sitting there thinking, ‘Has he really just said what I think he has?'”
Another said: “It was a very ill-advised phrase. He seemed to be saying that voting Ukip was the equivalent of getting drunk, sleeping with a prostitute and ending up in the gutter.”
Mr Oliver said that he was merely repeating an analogy made by someone else and did not share the sentiment.
He told the Independent: “What I said was that there was an occasion on the doorstep when we had heard somebody say that they likened voting Ukip to bad behaviour on a stag night.
“I specifically said that is not a view that I subscribe to. It was not my view: I was merely reporting it. It would be wrong to suggest in any way that it was.
“It is obvious somebody is trying to suggest that this was my view. It is something that a voter said. I don’t know exactly where it was.”
The comments come as new research suggests that over half of people intending to vote UKIP at the European Elections will stay with the party in the 2015 General Election.