The UKIP leader says he will “think very hard” about standing in Newark but appeared cautious last night, asking “is it the right seat for me?” Guido gives you the pros and cons facing Farage.
- Analysis by the Election Data website (right, click to enlarge) looking at Mosaic demographic data, past voting behaviour and self-reported political affiliation suggests that Farage would be well received in Newark. The overwhelming majority of the constituency is seen as “receptive” or “fairly receptive” to UKIP, with some areas “very receptive”. Only the town centre are voters described as “unreceptive”.
- UKIP’s support in the seat has multiplied in the last four years. In 2010 the UKIP candidate polled just 3.8%. As George Eaton notes in the 2013 county council elections the party won 17.1% in Newark and Sherwood. The by-election will come off the back of a Tory humiliation in Europe.
- Mike Smithson makes a convincing point for the pro camp: the last Tory by-election hold while in government was William Hague at Richmond in 1989 – 25 years ago.
- Farage has hinted that he wants to run in a by-election before 2015. How many more by-elections will there be in UKIP-friendly Tory seats in the next year?
- Patrick Mercer had a majority of 16,152. It is a fairly safe Tory seat.
- The Tory candidate Robert Jenrick has been putting in the groundwork over the last few weeks in anticipation of a by-election and the Tories are quietly confident their man is the real deal. Though his website needs some work.
- Farage told BBC News last night his main reservation is that he is not a local candidate, admitting “I haven’t particularly got connections with the local area”. Given UKIP’s Tory opponent has been parachuted in, might UKIP gain from running a candidate from within the constituency instead?
- The establishment media is with one voice telling Farage that if he does not run in Newark then he is a bottler. His enemies seem awfully keen on Nigel running. The Tory stooges at the Times have put it on their front page, as have the Telegraph. Are they setting a trap?
Or does he who dares win…