July 31 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Correspondent
Friday, May 23, 2014
Essex MP Douglas Carswell has called for the Conservatives to do a deal with UKIP ahead of the general election next year as the anti-EU party looked poised to make significant gains in local and European elections.
The Eurosceptic Tory MP said that if Prime Minister David Cameron was serious about an In/Out referendum and UKIP leader Nigel Farage was committed to a Brexit, then a pact was worth considering.
He made the comments in a Telegraph blog as the polls closed, just hours before local council results were declared.
He said: ”The law already allows joint candidates. We have a list of MPs on both sides of the House who in October 2011 showed that they are serious about securing an EU referendum
“If the alternative is Ed Miliband as Prime Minister, and no chance of a referendum, surely a pact is worth considering?”
But Tory chairman Grant Shapps was quick to dismiss the suggestion and UKIP chairman Steve Crowther said that the offer would come “too late”.
“We are an independent political party with our own stance and our own manifesto,” he told the BBC.
“We are not here to be bought and sold,” he added.
Mr Carswell, a renowned Tory rebel, said: “For years, we Conservatives have had the greatest share of the market in Euro elections. Until yesterday, we had won every one since 1999. Now it looks as if we may have finished third.
“Attacking Ukip – and by extension those who voted for them – makes no sense. We need to see off the new competition in the political market place by responding better to the punter.”
He also hit out at anti-Ukip coverage claiming many pundits “had almost zero understanding of swing voters in marginal seats”.
“One of the things disaffected voters most dislike about the established parties is the perception that they are full of clones, who talk in clichés. I can’t help thinking that homing in on the occasional crankiness of Ukip candidates merely underlines the clone-ieness of some of the others,” he added.
Mr Carswell sits on a 12,000 majority in the coastal seat.