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Lord Pearson tells UKIP he wants his party to stand down candidates in "seven or eight constituencies" in favour of existing MPs or other candidates who will "fight for our freedom"

Lord Pearson of Rannoch UKIP leader Lord Pearson of Rannoch spoke at his party's spring conference today in Milton Keynes. In his address, which you can read in its entirety here, he suggested that there were seven or eight candidates from other parties whom he would not want UKIP to challenge at the general election.

In the past, UKIP branches have generally been autonomous of their party leadership in terms of opting whether to contest constituencies; but Lord Pearson has stated that he wants to lean on branch chairmen and existing UKIP candidates in those few seats to urge them not to stand.

He did not name the candidates from other parties whom he has in mind - and by no means are they necessarily all Conservatives - but I imagine that the likes of Philip Davies and Douglas Carswell would be high on any such list he has in mind.

Here is what he told his conference:

"We must... do what we can to get people into the House of Commons who will really fight for our freedom. We must not stop them doing so by standing against them if we are unlikely to win the seat. To do so would be to defeat our own greater purpose; it would be to put our party and our local enthusiasms before our country... I am not talking about candidates who just say they think we would be better off out of the EU. I am talking about candidates, and they are very few, perhaps 7 or 8, who I am convinced will force questions and debates in and outside the Commons, and who will if necessary defy their whips. And of course it has to be clear that if we stood against them, we really could prevent them from being elected.

"I know this is not an easy concept for many of you. But it doesn’t help to say that they should simply cross the floor and join us. That would not take us any nearer to our goal. It would not advance our cause. Of course I will be talking to our candidates personally, and to their chairmen, and I hope I can persuade them to see that if they stand down and fight elsewhere, they really will be breaking the mould of British politics."

I can't say I am convinced that we will see anyone from UKIP "breaking the mould of British politics" at this general election; moreover, the message to anyone thinking of voting for them should echo that carried in the Scottish Conservatives video I posted earlier - namely that one of only two men could be Prime Minister on May 7th and that they should be thinking about which of those two men they would prefer to see in power and batting for Britain, rather than wasting their vote on a fringe candidate with no chance whatsoever of winning.

Jonathan Isaby


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