Isabel Hardman

The by-election battles have begun over Clacton and Heywood

The by-election battles have begun over Clacton and Heywood
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Douglas Carswell has just finished speaking at the Ukip conference and his fellow by-election contender John Bickley, who is standing in Heywood and Middleton on the same day, has just given a short address too.

He told the hall that 'the dam is ready to burst' and asked for members to pop in before they went to Clacton. Labour sources were last week claiming that their chance of holding onto the seat was looking shaky, which was read by many as an attempt to get their activists and MPs to take the fight seriously.

But I hear that there is a fierce debate going on in Ukip between those who want to divert resources from Clacton to Heywood in order to give the fight a real go, and those who think it best to focus efforts on Carswell's seat. Currently Heywood is not getting anything like the attention Clacton is, and party high command has not been convinced that it's worth changing things. They also claim there is more of an effort in Clacton from the Tories than Carswell's former party lets on, and don't want to take anything for granted.

Written byIsabel Hardman

Isabel Hardman is assistant editor of The Spectator. She also presents Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is author of Why We Get The Wrong Politicians.

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Topics in this articlePoliticsdouglas carswellukip