Tories should consider UKIP pact, Michael Fabricant urges


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David Cameron should consider a pact with UKIP, his elections adviser says.

Michael Fabricant suggests offering an in/out referendum on UK membership of the EU if UKIP promises not to stand against Tory candidates in 2015.

But No 10 said Mr Fabricant "did not speak for the party on this issue.... the safest way to protect Britain's interest is to vote Conservative".

UKIP leader Nigel Farage said it was "difficult" to envisage a pact while David Cameron was Conservative leader.

In an internal report to the prime minister the senior MP, who oversees campaigns on the ground, details the threat that UKIP now poses and says the party is costing the Tories votes in crucial marginal constituencies.

'Open debate'

He says an electoral pact with UKIP - in which the Conservatives would promise a referendum after 2015 and in return UKIP would not stand against Tory candidates - could help the Conservatives win an extra 20-40 seats at the next election.

Start Quote

If someone pragmatic, grown-up and sensible like Michael Gove was leader, then you might think we could sit round the table and have a proper discussion”

End Quote Nigel Farage UKIP leader

He told the BBC he wanted "an open debate" about the issue and no decision would have to be taken before 2014 at the earliest.

"There is clear evidence that some Conservative votes are to going to UKIP," he told the BBC. "That is not very logical because the best deal, if you want a good deal in Europe, is to vote Conservative.

"The trouble is some people are not doing that. They think that they can get a better deal by voting UKIP."

He rejected suggestions that talk of a pact was a sign of Conservative weakness or an attempt to put pressure on the prime minister over an EU referendum. "I am coming from a position of strength. I am not talking losing votes but about gaining votes and gaining seats."

He acknowledged such a deal would be "unpopular" with the Lib Dems - who are governing in coalition with the Conservatives until 2015 and oppose an in-out referendum - and therefore "the timing of any such declaration would be critical".

Mr Fabricant, who was a whip until leaving the government in September's reshuffle, believes the move could help secure the Conservatives a majority after the next election.

'Written in blood'

Earlier this year, UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he was open to the idea of a pact but demanded a referendum pledge "written in blood".

Start Quote

With great respect to the "in-outers", I don't think it does boil down to such a simple question”

End Quote Boris Johnson Mayor of London

But on Monday, he said he did not really trust Mr Cameron to deliver a referendum and urged him again to retract comments made in a 2006 interview in which he described some UKIP members as "closet racists".

"It is very difficult to see how you could ever do a deal with someone who was consistently rude about you," he told the BBC's Daily Politics.

While UKIP and the Conservatives had fundamental differences on policy, Mr Farage said he would be more inclined to talk to the Conservatives if they had a different leader.

"Cameron is the major obstacle," he added. "If someone pragmatic, grown-up and sensible like Michael Gove was leader, then you might think we could sit round the table and have a proper discussion."

'Fresh consent'

A Downing Street source said: "Michael Fabricant does a great job campaigning in by-elections but he doesn't speak for the party on this issue.

"The safest way to protect Britain's interests is to vote Conservative. That's why we'll have Tory candidates in every seat at the next election."

The prime minister has committed to seeking what he called "fresh consent" in a national vote but he has so far resisted the idea of an in/out referendum.

Mr Cameron has received backing for his position from Mayor of London Boris Johnson.

Mr Johnson previously suggested he was in favour of an in/out referendum at the "right moment" but he told the BBC on Sunday he now believed the issue was not as "simple" as that.

"I don't think it is as simple as 'yes/no' now," he told Radio 5 Live's Pienaar's Politics. "Suppose Britain voted tomorrow to come out, what would actually happen.

"We would still have huge numbers of staff trying to monitor what is going on (in the EU), only we would not be able to sit in the Council of Ministers and we would not have any vote at all. Now I don't think that is actually a prospect that is likely to appeal.

"With great respect to the "in-outers", I don't think it does boil down to such a simple question."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    269.Rebecca Riot
    You sound like you are talking about the EU. You have basically described the entire EU and their useless politicians and policies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.


  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    The political landscape is changing, more and more people are voting strategically, and small political parties are now being seen as a viable alternative or at least able to provide leverage. It is a good reflection of the state of Society, which has become more diverse, despite the current voting system, coalitions will become the norm rather than the exception.

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    It's really quite simple and always has been, Forget the detail and the zillions. You are either for a more integrated Europe and all that that entails, or not. Your either believe in the Euro currency concept or not. It's about a principle, almost an act of faith.
    If anyone thinks they know the answer to the complexities of 'in' or 'out' i say they don't know their arse from their elbow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    Tories are done for. UKIP represents traditional Conservatism much more than the Conservatives do nowadays, the latter who only seem to care about the greed of crony Capitalism and how much money they can pillage from us.

    I don't support UKIP, but a split of the popular vote amongst many parties makes it harder for career politicians to take the reigns and just rule as they see fit.

    Bye Dave.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    There is a myth that if we left the EU jobs would suffer. Go to any car park, retail outlet and note how much European merchandise is on sale. No way will jobs be lost because Europe can't afford to lose our custom. Also, we can then forge new trading links without being shackled to Europe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    I am afraid that Dave the closet buffon is not one to any deals with, the Tories have no chance of winning any thing with Dave/Geroge in charge
    Top down - Complete joke
    Local communities deciding - another complete joke
    NHS safe in our hands - do not think so
    EU membership referendum - again no
    Sorting out tax avoidance - only if your name is J.Car
    Energy companies profiteering - no chance

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    @ 258.Goebbels at the BBC:

    Your namesake had a more effective grasp of language and propaganda. Not that getting it right would give you any more credibility.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Tories must know they will lose the next election. UKIP do not do any deals with the Tories as they can not be trusted.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    I don't think any party is going to win any kind of overall majority in the next election. People are so fed up with all the slanging thats going on they'll vote for who they want not the party represented and just hope that who they elect will vote with their consciences for once and not the party line. Could be a good thing. The big parties are too complacent and sure of themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    UkIP is like the Tea Party in America, lots of bar room bores with money and friends in the media, giving the illusion that they have much more support than they actually do.

    They Tories are going to take a hammering at the next election anyway so it's quite irrelevant what UKIP do.

  • Comment number 270.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    I suggest that UKIP is mostly for Home Counties old boys who sit around in the pub drinking whisky chasers and droning on about everything they dislike.

    The more chasers they drink the more bizarre and extreme their conversation

    Unable to fit into a rapidly changing world they feel increasingly uncomfortable and desperately want to wind the clock back just to suit themselves

  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    UKIP are just a protest party with a high profile,in part due to Nigel Farage being such an amusing good sport on TV (e.g. 'Have I Got News For You').

    They don't run candidates in all areas & don't get that many votes unless it concerns Europe.

    With their sole focus being to oppose anything European, they are a bit like the 'Greens', i.e. a protest party with no chance of real political power!

  • Comment number 267.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    Does anyone else shout at the TV when Farage is on?

    I've not done that since Baroness Thatcher was PM.

  • rate this

    Comment number 265.

    This is a test- if Farage does a U-turn on this, DC will know he is a perfect partner.

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    A referendum will sort things out:

    "Would you like Britain to be a colony of the EU?"

    Vote now please

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    Why do people keep implying that if we leave the EU in its present form that we won't be able to trade with it. What absolute nonsense is this? How do all the other nations of the world trade with the EU then? This bizarre threat just shows how lacking the pro EU argument is.

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    251: David Pickles

    Pray tell me what if anything the personnel you have mentioned contributed financially to Britains well being - the answer is nil. While I sympathise with the personnel who have lost their income they did and do cost the taxpayer an extermely large amount of cash from the public purse!
    In times of austerity we cannort afford this. The days of Empire have long gone.


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