Following Isabel's revelation that the newly-reinstated Nadine Dorries will be pursuing an electoral pact with Ukip, Nigel Farage reveals he is open not just to Dorries' advances but also those of other Conservative and Labour MPs. Speaking on this week's View from 22 podcast, the Ukip leader says:
'If Nadine Dorries' association come to me and say they've passed a resolution, and they want her to run as a joint candidate in 2015, I will go and ask my local association how they feel but my inclination would be, why not? What on earth is wrong with doing this?
'I would also say this could apply to other Tories too. It may even apply to one or two of the old Labour types as well'
Farage is under no illusions either about how the notion of joint Ukip-Conservative candidates will be received by the Tory leadership:
'This article about Nadine, possibly talking about a joint ticket, is something that several more MPs may choose. Then of course, that will present quite a big challenge to Downing Street and David Cameron. Will be he prepared to accept this or not?'
Farage has previously ruled out any kind of deal on a national level with David Cameron, but his new offer to Tories at a constituency level may prove persuasive to those feeling squeezed by Ukip in the run up to the next election. His offer to Labour MPs too suggests Ukip will be soon be turning their guns on Ed Miliband who has yet to offer a clear position on a EU referendum. According to Farage, Ukip are poised to erode the 'old Labour vote' in the North of England and he will be campaigning there soon.
As Isabel writes in her interview, it remains unclear what, if anything, the Prime Minister can do to stop or discourage associations from making deals with their Ukip counter parts. Soon, Miliband and Cameron may be united in trying to find a way to halt Ukip's progress on a local level.
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