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Tories in Buckingham will be free to vote for Nigel Farage but CCHQ worries about publicity coup for UKIP

5.30pm: CCHQ has just issued this statement of support for John Bercow:

"The Conservative Party supports the Speaker. We support the convention that the Speaker stands without a party label and is unopposed. We urge other parties to hold to this convention. We hope the Speaker will be re-elected, and we urge voters in Buckingham to support him."

The earlier post stands in that Tory members are free to support other candidates but the Tory leadership have now made it clear that they intend to support John Bercow continuing as Speaker.

At 10.30pm tonight we'll be publishing the result of our survey of Tory members and who they'd vote for in a Bercow V Farage contest.


A senior source at CCHQ tells me that John Bercow will not be an official Conservative candidate at the General Election and party members will not therefore be required to vote for him.

The party does, however, regard the whole Farage versus Bercow clash as a big headache.  They worry that it will give UKIP a big publicity boost (it already has) and that this could undermine the chances of Tory candidates in seats where leakage to UKIP could be the difference between victory and defeat.

Yesterday I said I'd be tempted to vote for Mr Farage. If I lived in Buckingham I think I'd abstain. I do not want John Bercow to be Speaker but I don't want Nigel Farage as Britain's first elected MP for UKIP either.

If you can't fault Nigel Farage for seizing this political opportunity you can fault his honesty with the voters of his Euro-region.  He asked for their support just two months ago in the European Elections and is now seeking another seat for a different legislature.  His behaviour is a massive contrast to former Tory MEPs Jonathan Evans, Chris Heaton-Harris and Neil Parish who did not seek to stand again because they are fighting for seats in the House of Commons.

Within today's survey on next steps for ConHome I've asked if you would support Bercow or Farage if you lived in Buckingham.  Click here to vote.

Tim Montgomerie

PS Danny Finkelstein of SDPCentral, OsborneCentral, I mean CommentCentral has said that Tories need to get over John Bercow's election and stop giving comfort to UKIP.


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