Disgraced Mercer to be replaced in Newark vote

Patrick Mercer, the disgraced Conservative MP  Picture: Getty
Patrick Mercer, the disgraced Conservative MP Picture: Getty
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VOTERS in Newark are due to choose an MP to replace disgraced ex-Tory Patrick Mercer as Ukip seeks to translate surging support into a coveted Commons seat.

Opinion polls suggest the Conservatives are on course to hold off the eurosceptic challenge, but only with a massively-reduced majority.

Mr Mercer, who quit over what a sleaze watchdog said was the worst breach of transparency rules it had dealt with, won by 16,152 votes from Labour in 2010.

Ukip finished a distant fifth at the general election, more than 25,000 votes behind him.

But Nigel Farage’s party is now seeking to translate its dramatic victory in European elections into representation at Westminster.

It has put up MEP Roger Helmer - re-elected to the European Parliament in the party’s “earthquake” victory last month - to take on Conservative Robert Jenrick.

The Conservatives have flooded the town with dozens of MPs in a sign of the depth of concern, with Prime Minister David Cameron visiting four times.

Mr Farage is expected to make a polling day visit but the PM will not be among a large contingent of Tories seeking to maximise its vote as he is abroad for the G7 summit, talks with Russian president Vladimir Putin and attending commemorations of the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Polls suggest Labour - which came second in 2010 - will come third with the Liberal Democrats braced for another battering.

The junior coalition partner outpolled Ukip by more than five votes to one at the general election but is expected to see its vote slashed.

Under-pressure Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will hope at least avoid the humiliation of his candidate David Watts finishing behind David Bishop of the Bus Pass Elvis party.

In March, Mr Bishop finished ahead of the Lib Dems in a city council by-election in the Clifton area of Nottingham.

There are 11 candidates in the by-election: Robert Jenrick (C); Michael Payne (Lab); David Watts (Lib Dem); David Kirwan (Green); Paul Baggaley (Ind); David Bishop (Bus Pass Elvis); Nick The Flying Brick (Monster Raving Loony); Andy Hayes (Ind); Roger Helmer (Ukip); Dick Rodgers (Stop Commercial Banks Owning Britain’s Money); Lee Woods (Patriotic Socialist


•{http://www.scotsman.com/news/uk/conservative-mp-patrick-mercer-to-resign-whip-role-1-2950754 | Conservative MP Patrick Mercer to resign whip role| link to article}