UKIP leader Nigel Farage has confirmed he wants to stand in the South Thanet seat in next year’s general election.
Mr Farage said he had “thrown my hat in the ring”, ending months of speculation that he was lining up the Kent constituency as his target for the 2015 contest.
In his column in The Independent Mr Farage insisted it was not a certainty that he would be selected by the local party but added: “I think I stand a good chance of winning”.
Mr Farage was born in Kent and has represented the area in the European Parliament since 1999.
The Tory incumbent Laura Sandys won the South Thanet seat with a majority of 7,617 in 2010 but is standing down at the general election.
In his column Mr Farage said: “The situation is that there will be a hustings in the constituency the week after next at which the branch will decide who they wish to represent them.
“I have thrown my hat in the ring, but so have others, including a top-class barrister and friend of mine.
“It may seem silly to some that the leader of a party would have to go through the process of being approved and selected but, I assure you, rank means nothing in Ukip.
“Just as I applied to stand again as a Ukip MEP and went through the same assessment as other candidates and faced the vote of the membership with everyone else, I believe that the power to select the person they will be pounding the streets in all weathers for lies with the members of the branch themselves.
“Of course I think I stand a good chance of winning. I have fought the seat before and it is in my home county of Kent and an area I have represented in the European Parliament since 1999. But with Ukip members, nothing is ever for certain. And that’s just fine by me.”
A senior Ukip source said Mr Farage was one of eight candidates on the shortlist for the seat.