The Bath and NE Somerset branch of UKIP has voted overwhelmingly against making some sort of electoral pact with the local Conservative Association. This means that UKIP will be running a candidate against leading Eurosceptic Jacob Rees-Mogg in the 2015 general election.
The result of the poll was a resounding 76% of members voting against the pact.
There have been numerous calls from Conservatives to strike deals with UKIP in key seats. Rees-Mogg himself wrote in The Telegraph earlier this year arguing in favour of an official agreement between the two parties, with candidates of both parties standing down in certain seats:
“[The recent local elections] showed the right to be almost evenly split with the Tories on 25 per cent and Ukip on 23 per cent according to the BBC’s calculation of the national vote share. If this could be united it would represent a higher share of the vote than Margaret Thatcher ever achieved and would equal the level last reached at a general election by Harold Macmillan In 1959.”
But many in UKIP are incensed by the idea, insisting that, UKIP must stand in every constituency.
And our editor has previously argued elsewhere, the parties are not as similar as Conservatives like to make out. Far from only split on Europe, we hold different positions on HS2, education, action in Syria and gay marriage, to name just a few.
Speaking to the Bath Chronical, Bath Branch Chairman Richard Crowder said:
“Now that this issue has been democratically settled, we can concentrate on selecting prospective candidates for the forthcoming 2015 general election. As in the past, we will be fighting both North East Somerset and Bath Parliamentary seats.
The party has members drawn from all three main parties. Many members had not been directly involved in politics before joining UKIP. The members are patriotic, and are concerned about the future of the UK.”