James Forsyth

The Wheeler turns in UKIP’s favour

The Wheeler turns in UKIP's favour
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The News of the World reports that Stuart Wheeler, the major Tory donor, has written a £100,000 cheque to UKIP and will vote for the party in the European elections. But this is not a straight forward defection. Wheeler says he will vote Tory in the local elections and at the general election. So, the party leadership must decide whether to expel Wheeler and refuse any future donations from him or to just ignore this provocation.

Cameron, unlike previous Tory leaders, is dealing with Wheeler from a position of strength. The party is 13 points ahead in the latest poll and it is far easier for Cameron to brush this off on a day when the President of the United States has gone out of his way to arrange a meeting with him.

But Wheeler’s declaration is a reminder that Europe has not gone away as a potentially divisive internal issue for the Tories. Although, I suspect that the European Convention on Human Rights will cause Cameron more problems than the Lisbon Treaty. 

 

Written byJames Forsyth

James Forsyth is Political Editor of the Spectator. He is also a columnist in The Sun.

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