As Lord Ashcroft’s polling has suggested, UKIP threaten to put Ed Miliband into Government by splitting the vote in 2015. The result would be catastrophic – no in/out EU referendum, along with a return to Labour’s mismanagement of the economy and the public finances.
It’s a compelling argument for those who might find themselves wavering the night before the General Election, and one which the Conservative leadership would be wise to repeat on a regular basis during the campaign.
Needless to say, Nigel Farage does not agree. In fact, he got memorably shirty about it when the danger was brought up by Bill Cash at a fringe meeting in a Manchester.
Now we have confirmation from UKIPpers on the ground that they know the analysis to be true.
TrendingCentral reports that in Windsor, the local UKIP branch have announced they will be standing aside in the wards of seven Conservative councillors whom they regard as “like-minded on many issues”. The move has come about due to a by-election in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead late last year, in which the Lib Dems snuck in by 8 votes while UKIP came a distant third with 152. The result was a microcosm of the nightmare scenario in 2015 – UKIP stood regardless of the arithmetic, and a europhile was elected as a result.
It’s important to note that this is not a UKIP-Conservative pact in Windsor. UKIP have acted unilaterally in standing aside, and I’m told no deal has ever been discussed by local Conservatives, nor would one be offered. It’s to the UKIP branch’s credit that they’ve realised the harmful consequences of standing in these seats, and have stepped back from the brink.
The numbers Lord Ashcroft and others have revealed are blunt in their conclusion – UKIP pose a real risk of preventing the UK have the opportunity to leave the EU, by letting Labour and Lib Dem candidates in in place of eurosceptic Conservatives. UKIP Windsor, and their Leader Cllr Tom Bursnall, have evidently realised that and are acting in the best interests of the people – the question now is, will Farage accept the reality of the situation as well?