July 24 2014 Latest news:
Annabelle Dickson, Political Editor
Monday, May 26, 2014
Nigel Farage and the Tories must work together to stop Ed Miliband getting the keys to Number 10, UK Independence Party defector David Campbell-Bannerman has said.
The Conservative MEP, who left the party in 2011 claiming it was not a credible political force, made the comments after clinging onto his seat in the East last night,
He said he believed his old leader, Mr Farage, could be willing to make an informal agreement.
The former UKIP deputy leader and party chairman lost out to Mr Farage in a leadership contest in November 2010, returning to the Conservatives the following year.
He said that while his party leadership had made clear that “at this point” it was not looking at pacts, there could be an informal agreement.
“I personally think - and I know Nigel Farage, I was his deputy leader, I was his party chairman - I cannot see Nigel Farage wanting to put a Marxist, pro-EU federalist like Ed Miliband in Number 10.
“If UKIP’s only achievement is to put Ed Miliband into Number 10, then that doesn’t suit UKIP’s objectives. I think we have to work together, probably not in a formalised pact. We just need to ensure that we get the referendum that only the Conservatives are providing. That is what UKIP wants aswell.”
Mr Campbell Bannerman, who had complained of internal fighting when he left UKIP, struck a conciliatory tone saying: “I have many UKIP friends. I still personally want to leave the EU, but I think our differences are one of tactics. I think UKIP government is not achievable. Only a referendum is going to give the British people an option. I came back to the Conservatives to argue for a referendum. We have got a referendum, we have got to ensure it is delivered.”
In a surprise result, Mr Campbell-Bannerman said it was a “huge relief” to win the final of seven seats available in the Easter region. The result left the Conservatives and UKIP with three seats each, denying the Liberal Democrats a return and thwarting Labour’s attempts to get a second.
Mr Campbell-Bannerman said: “I knew it would be a big battle. This is a right wing swing which is good news for the general election. People have made it very clear – the Lib Dems have fallen away, Labour have only got one seat - this is a right wing result, and this is a good harbinger for the general election next year.”
“I have had to talk to a lot of people and persuade them not to vote UKIP on this occasion. Clearly there is a huge movement towards UKIP, mainly driven by immigration, but I think, and I feel vindicated in the fact, that only an in/out referendum from the Conservatives is going to address the EU issue properly, but also immigration.”
He added: “I am willing to do whatever is necessary to ensure the election of a Conservative majority government.”