19:20 Monday 28 January 2013

Calls for UKIP to form a pact with Conservatives


BURTON, South Derbyshire and North West Leicestershire’s Conservative MPs could all lose their seats in the next General Election because of growing support for the UK Independence Party (UKIP), one of the country’s leading pollsters has claimed.

Analysis by Professor John Curtice, of Strathclyde University, found the three Tories were among 51 who could lose their seats to Labour opponents in 2015 if enough traditional Conservative voters drifted to UKIP.

The anti-European Union (EU) party is currently riding high in the opinion polls and, according to Prof Curtice, could cost the Conservatives the election and hand the keys to Downing Street to Ed Miliband.

But UKIP activist Peter McGuiggan (pictured left), who stood in several local elections in East Staffordshire, said his party should form a pact with the Conservatives.

“I think we should give our full support to the Conservatives,” he said, suggesting that UKIP should not field candidates in marginal seats because doing so could increase the likelihood of Labour wins.

He said: “We want to ensure Conservatives are re-elected so we can have our referendum on whether to stay in the EU.

“The Tories are promising a referendum but Labour is not, so in my view we need to keep Conservatives in their seats. UKIP’s whole reason for being is to get an in-out referendum.”

A deal between UKIP and the Tories was recently suggested by Lichfield Conservative MP Michael Fabricant, but ruled out by UKIP leader Nigel Farage.

Burton MP Andrew Griffiths said he recognised the threat posed by UKIP.

“UKIP may not get a single seat in the next General Election,” he said. “But it could gift seats to Labour and result in a Labour government.

“Voting for UKIP could make it impossible for the public to have a referendum because Labour have ruled it out.”

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