Tories should consider UKIP pact, Michael Fabricant urges


Michael Fabricant: Nigel Farage has a lot of talent

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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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  • Comment number 521.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 520.

    507.Some Lingering Fog
    Vote Yes, join the Euro and embrace a federal Europe or vote No, keep the Pound and remain independent
    You misrepresent the choices.

    We can stay in and not be on the fringes, arguing for a loose federation of States with common economic and social interests.

    We would not be on our own in supporting this approach.

  • rate this

    Comment number 519.

    UKIP aren't threatening the Tories - they've shot THEMSELVES in the foot since they took office. They started by reneging on the referendum and went merrily on... But what's finally done it for me is Gove's sneaky ongoing destruction of school playing fields. CHILDREN NEED PLAYING FIELDS!! but once gone they're gone forever - for all future generations - so mean, so utterly nasty!, so unnecessary!

  • rate this

    Comment number 518.

    Surely a pact between UKIP and the BNP would make far more sense. They're virtually the same party.

    They are nothing of the sort. BNP's beliefs are racist-founded and totally intollerant to anyone non-British. UKIP just want us out of the EU because it is a wasteful leviathon and it does not advocate a permanent closure of our borders. UKIP agrees with some immigration.

  • rate this

    Comment number 517.

    Do people still vote? Why? All the big parties are the same, and minor parties have no hope of even influencing power, let alone achieving it. under our electoral system. By voting, people are giving legitimacy to the politicians who are supposed to represent us. There are 650 of them, and 60 million of us, yet we let them walk all over us. It's time to take back our country from them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 516.

    They have no (moral) right to make a pact and deal us voters like a pack of cards. They should have the balls to stand up for their own party.
    It shows they are just after power and don't care about the electorate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 515.

    Fairly moderate single retired pensioner and struggling. Paid into the system all my life. Taxes paid for kids here to go to school etc. No problem, but why should my taxes go in child benefit etc to East Europe, go to EU who are asking for increases, subsidise French farmers who block ferries whenever they want when I'm getting hungry and cold. I'm not racist but I am British. Its got to stop

  • Comment number 514.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 513.

    I guess if the UKIP are rascists then the SNP must be as well ....

  • rate this

    Comment number 512.

    2 Minutes ago
    Surely a pact between UKIP and the BNP would make far more sense. They're virtually the same party.

    I think we are all a bit bored with these lies.

    UKIP are fair people who love the UK, its people and defend our freedoms from Brussels. Look at their web site before writing profanities.

  • rate this

    Comment number 511.

    Mr Fabricant said on TV that if UKIP did not put up candidates against Tories, the Tories should give UKIP a "cast iron guarantee" of an In/Out EU referendum.
    What happened to the last Tory "cast iron guarantee" on an EU referendum?

  • rate this

    Comment number 510.

    The Tories shouldn't need to enter a pact with UKIP. They should concentrate on winning the arguments and wining votes back which they've lost to other parties.

    I consider my political views to be center right, but also pro-European. So who on earth should I vote for if a pact does go ahead? I may have grounds for starting my own party, a British equivalent to the CDU in Germany.

  • rate this

    Comment number 509.

    I live in a constituency with that swings between Labour and the Conservatives. Currently we have a Tory MP, but if people switch their vote to UKIP, the seat will probably end up in Labour hands again. The Torys should take the idea of a pact with UKIP seriously or they will end up in opposition again. Not because Labour have won the people over, but because UKIP are taking votes from Torys!

  • rate this

    Comment number 508.

    In what way is this news? Can we please focus on the important issues - England have just thrashed India in their own backyard !

    Let's get things into perspective people.

  • rate this

    Comment number 507.

    The UK needs to decide once and for all what its relationship with the rest of Europe should be and that will only happen with an in/out referendum. This current situation of paying loads of money but remaining on the fringes does no one any good at all.

    So vote Yes, join the Euro and embrace a federal Europe or vote No, keep the Pound and remain independent.

    The UK will survive either way.

  • rate this

    Comment number 506.

    UKIP have this quaint idea that a country should be run by the government that the citizens of that country elect, rather than by a foreign state; I don't see what's racist or right-wing about that.

  • rate this

    Comment number 505.

    #465 Re policy, you are right, and what a lot of posters seem to be forgetting is that as part of the EU, there is entirely legitimate freedom of movement and employment between EU countries. Conflation of the ethos of UKIP and BNP isn't entirely adrift of the mark,as a study of German history circa 1930-33 reveals;recessionary times bring all sorts of dangerous/nutty parties out of the woodwork.

  • rate this

    Comment number 504.

    This would be just playing party politics.
    It's no wonder that UKIP are now seen as challenging the major parties as the Tories, Lib Dems and Labour have all let us down miserably.
    The electorate is desperate for change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 503.

    Quote // 460. zzgrark
    429.Broadsword etc
    I'd be interested to see some stats on how many current members of UKIP were former members of the BNP. //

    The answer is NONE

    UKIP does not, and never has knowingly accepted former BNP members as members or candidates in the party.

    Your suggestion is insulting.

    How many Labour party Members or MPs are or have been in The Communist Party?

  • rate this

    Comment number 502.

    Toreis are worries because UKIP offers a real alternative:
    EU in/out vote;
    Cut income tax & combining it with NI all into 1 flat 30% rate;
    Cut corporate tax;
    Cut Govt spending to alleviate Govt debt;
    Education vouchers to give parents choice;
    Increase defence spending;
    Opposing Govt forced multiculturalism;
    Direct Democracy Referenda
    Labour & Tories are virtually the same on all these issues.


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