Launching their manifesto this morning, UKIP leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch has announced that not only is his party making a conscious decision not to stand in a handful of seats held by what he defined as "committed eurosceptics" in the last Parliament, but that UKIP will "actively campaign" for them.
One Labour MP seeking re-election will get this help:
- David Drew - Stroud
And sixfive Conservative candidates will be given the same treatment, with Lord Pearson identifying the following at his press conference (I will seek the identity of the others) along with two others:
- Dougla Carswell - Clacton
- Philip Davies - Shipley
- Philip Hollobone - Kettering
- Janice Small - Batley and Spen
- Alex Story - Wakefield
Lord Pearson said that none had asked for UKIP's help - although I suggested in February that David Drew's attendance at a UKIP dinner meant that an electoral pact was on the cards.
David Campbell-Bannerman MEP, UKIP 's deputy leader, has just been interviewed by Sky News' Adam Boulton and seemed somewhat confused about his party's position in Great Grimsby, where Austin Mitchell has been Labour MP since 1977. Boulton suggested that Mitchell was a eurosceptic whom UKIP should not oppose, to which Campbell-Bannerman replied that Mitchell was indeed "a good man" whom UKIP would not have opposed, but that sadly Mitchell was standing down at the election.
FACT: Austin Mitchell is standing for re-election.
Are UKIP's leader and deputy leader singing from the same hymnsheet?