Even Eurosceptic Conservative Members of Parliament have begun to voice their concerns over UKIP challengers at the next general election, with the ardent right winger Philip Davies MP telling the Telegraph and Argus that he “very much hopes” Nigel Farage’s party won’t put up a candidate against him next May.
With Britain’s General Election just over seven months away, parties and their candidates are putting together the final plans for their policy platforms and local strategies with regard to target seats. This time around, UKIP is expected to field a full slate across 649 constituencies across the United Kingdom.
This, according to Eurosceptic MPs, is not ideal, especially because some of them didn’t face a UKIP challenge last time around in 2010, when UKIP took the decision not to run against ideologically pure conservatives and eurosceptics. One man who benefitted from this was one of their newest defectors, Douglas Carswell, who is expected to sweep to victory on Thursday in the by-election prompted by his resignation.
But others are not so confident, such as Mr Davies, the MP for Shipley. He didn’t have a UKIP challenger in 2010 either, and swept to victory with a near 10,000 vote majority. He told his local paper: “I agree with Ukip on nearly everything. Ukip has never stood against me in a General Election in Shipley. I very much hope they never do.”
But this time around he may not be so lucky – and he has the right reasons to be worried.
In 2005, Mr Davies only took the seat by 422 votes. If, as expected, Labour targets the 10,000 Liberal Democrat voters, and UKIP targets Tory-voting areas, Mr Davies’s majority could quickly be squeezed if not totally eradicated. If on the other hand, UKIP attracts a fair chunk of the Labour votes, as it has been wont to do in recent by-elections, then Mr Davies could escape a defeat.
Either way, it looks like Mr Davies might not get away without a UKIP challenger this time, nor will any Tory, no matter how eurosceptic.
A UKIP source told Breitbart London: “The only candidates we won’t run against, Philip, are our own.”
“As long as [Mr Davies] is supporting the Prime Minister, his words mean diddly squat”.
This is despite the fact that last year, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said: “I think we should make common cause and not stand against that candidate,” indicating that he may still not stand against some Eurosceptic MPs.
Clearly the final decisions are yet to be made, but there’s one thing of which Mr Davies can be certain: if he was a UKIP MP, he wouldn’t have a decent challenge from the right. Will he? Won’t he? Unlikely, according to him, but then again that’s what Mark Reckless said too…