“This is a regrettable and frankly counterproductive decision. As Douglas Carswell said, the only way to get a referendum on the EU is to return a majority Conservative government. The Conservative party will contest the forthcoming by-election vigorously to make sure the people in Clacton have a strong conservative voice in this parliament and the next.”
‘The Conservative Party will contest the by-election vigorously, to ensure that the people of Clacton have a strong Conservative voice in this Parliament and the next.’
“Douglas Carswell’s defection is a hammer blow to David Cameron. Confidence in David Cameron is collapsing inside a Conservative party which is divided and running scared of UKIP. David Cameron’s weak leadership has seen him abandon the centre ground, repeatedly trying to pander to his own right-wing backbenchers rather than concentrate on the needs of the country. Now even his own side are abandoning him.”
Guido would call Doncaster Miliband’s ‘backyard’, but given the Labour leader barely spends any time there, he will stick with ‘Ed’s constituency’. Either way UKIP are in the ascendency in Ed’s constituency, as proved by Thursday’s stunning Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council by-election that saw a 20.5% swing away from Labour in Edenthorpe.
UKIP took 41% of the vote to Labour’s 38%.
Suddenly Farage’s plan to hold UKIP conference in the area does not look so brazen…
“The Conservatives will hold this seat but what UKIP will do is score their best ever percentage score in a by-election. It’s going to be over 30%. [The Tory majority] will be two or three thousand. It will be very difficult to think we could have done much better. It’s been a very short by-election, we couldn’t really mobilise anybody until after the European elections. The Conservatives have probably put more into this than any by-election they’ve ever fought in their history. All round, I can assure you that the People’s Army will be very happy with this result tonight.”
If Farage is right and UKIP polled over 30% that will be very uncomfortable for the Tories…
The polls have closed in Newark and Survation have released the results of their final poll in the constituency:
The results are expected between 2am and 3am…
With the polls opening in a matter of hours for a crunch by-election, where is the leader of the party that is hoping to break through to Westminster for the first time? Nigel Farage is certainly not in Newark. Instead he was spotted at the Hilton Hotel in sunny Malta, 1,718 miles from rainy old Nottinghamshire. Instead of campaigning, Farage is hobnobbing with Helen Grant and Lord Adonis at the Institute of Travel & Tourism’s conference. A vote of confidence for Helmer!
UKIP campaigners suspected foul play in Newark this morning when a driver parked a car two feet from their stall in the market place. In their paranoia, how did they respond to what must have been dirty tricks? They sandwiched “Vote UKIP” signs around the offending vehicle:
Which made for an awkward scene after accusing the Tories of parking there, only to find it was a disabled driver trying to get the shops:
Lord Ashcroft reports:
“A by-election two weeks after the European election means that Newark’s electors have enjoyed the prolonged attention of the parties, a privilege for which they must surely be grateful. The evidence from my poll is that the Tories have had the better of an intense ground war and have by no means taken the seat for granted. More than nine out of ten voters say they have heard from the Conservatives locally, including 81 per cent who have had literature through the door; nearly half have received personally addressed mail. Eight in ten say they have heard from UKIP; the party is reported to be slightly more active than Labour in all elements of the local campaign.
The poll was conducted in the week before polling day, and just under a fifth of voters say they may yet change their mind. Despite this, it looks clear that the next MP for Newark will be Robert Jenrick.”
The full data is here.
It’s theirs to lose…
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