DCSIMG

Nigel Farage rules out Eastleigh by-election bid

  • by ANDREW WOODCOCK
 

UK INDEPENDENCE Party leader Nigel Farage yesterday ruled out standing in the by-election in Eastleigh, triggered by Chris Huhne’s decision to stand down as an MP.

UK INDEPENDENCE Party leader Nigel Farage yesterday ruled out standing in the by-election in Eastleigh, triggered by Chris Huhne’s decision to stand down as an MP.

The Liberal Democrat former energy secretary formally left parliament yesterday, by the archaic procedure of accepting appointment to the Chiltern Hundreds, and a date for the by-election is expected to be announced soon. There had been speculation that Mr Farage would take the opportunity to fight a second by-election in the Hampshire constituency, having scooped 952 votes there in Ukip’s first bid to win a Westminster seat in 1994.

However, there were doubts over whether the seat – a Lib Dem/Conservative marginal in the last four general elections – would be an attractive venue for a high-profile campaign for Ukip, even when the party is riding high in the polls. Mr Farage said the idea of fighting Eastleigh “has its romance”.

But he said that he did not want to be distracted from his priorities of leading the party into the English county council elections in May and heading the Ukip group of MEPs in ­Brussels.

“Today, Ukip is becoming a serious player in British politics,” said Mr Farage.

 

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