Farage Eyes Eastleigh

Nigel Farage is up to something. He’s very publicly challenged Cameron to a debate, delivering a personal note to No.10 this morning:

“I propose a public debate between us where we can put our respective cases forward. My challenge to you is an open and honest one and I hope you will afford me, and the people of this country, a proper say on the matter.”

True to form, the UKIP leader took some ladies with him for the ride. While a debate between these two would no doubt be a belter, it’s not going to happen. Where Farage chose to announce his debate plan did pique Guido’s interest though. It seems he has spent the weekend in the prospective battlefield site of Eastleigh – Chris Huhne’s seat. For now…

Hypothetically, were there to be a by-election in the seat it would tear the coalition apart. There is plenty of bad blood on the ground after local Tories were narrowly defeated by vicious LibDem campaigns in election after election. Nobody would be pulling their punches this time…

If LibDem polling figures remain where they are, it will be the Tories’ to lose, but there are also 10,000 Labour votes up for grabs. With a decent tactical campaign UKIP could easily pick up significantly more than the 3,000 votes they secured in 2010. And not just from from disillusioned Tories…

Interestingly Farage stood in the seat in 1994, he reportedly told a local crowd on Saturday: “coming to Eastleigh is like coming home”“Eastleigh is a site of some interest” a UKIP spokesmen told Guido this afternoon, though they would not be drawn on speculation. Ingratiating himself with local businesses? Talking to residents? Whatever could he be up to…

Photos via Eastleigh News



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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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