Farage rules out election bid as MPs prepare for the end of Parliament
- Credit: PA
Speculation that Nigel Farage could stand in an East Anglian constituency at the general election was dashed at the weekend when the Brexit Party leader said he would not be a candidate in December’s poll.
There had been reports that he was considering standing in Clacton - the only seat ever won by UKIP in a general election (in 2015) - but he told the Andrew Marr programme on BBC1 that he was not going to stand in the election.
He said: "I've thought very hard about this - how do I serve the cause of Brexit best, because that's what I'm doing this for. Not for a career, I don't want to be in politics for the rest of my life.
"Do I find a seat to try get myself into parliament or do I serve the cause better traversing the length and breadth of the United Kingdom supporting 600 candidates, and I've decided the latter course is the right one."
That could be good news for Giles Watling who took back the seat for the Conservatives in 2017 - Mr Farage's popularity in the town was clear when he came a European election rally in Clacton earlier this year.
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Campaigning has started, even though the House of Commons is not formally dissolved until the middle of the week. Sandy Martin will be in Westminster - and has been selected to present the last adjournment debate of the Parliament.
Ipswich Conservative candidate Tom Hunt was joined on the campaign trail in the town on Saturday by former party chairman and Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis.
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Both the Tories and Labour have marked Ipswich as a key marginal and both parties are expected to send leading figures to support their candidates during the election campaign.
After the dissolution on Thursday there will be no MPs in the country - although ministers will retain their posts until after the election itself.
The official notice of election - which marks the official start of the campaign - is due to be published next Monday.
The parties manifestos are expected to be published soon after the election campaign officially starts - and there are likely to be regular policy announcements. The first opinion polls since the election was called have shown a lead for the Conservatives - but there are considerable variances between the support show for them parties.