MP Nadine Dorries 'to consider Tory-UKIP candidacy'

Conservative MP Nadine Dorries: "It's about stopping Labour getting back in"

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Conservative MP Nadine Dorries has suggested she might run as a joint Tory-UK Independence Party candidate at the next general election.

She told the Spectator magazine she would be "having very much that kind of conversation" with activists in her Mid-Bedfordshire constituency.

Ms Dorries also said many Conservatives had "huge empathy" with UKIP, whose poll ratings have risen recently.

But David Cameron said his party "doesn't do pacts and deals".

Speaking in the US, where he is on a three-day trip, the prime minister said his party was aiming to win an outright majority at the next election - scheduled for 2015 - and "that is what we will deliver".

Ms Dorries returned to the Conservative Party last week after a six-month suspension.

She had the whip withdrawn last November when the leadership said it had not granted her permission to appear on the ITV reality show I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here.

'Confused'

UKIP, which advocates withdrawal from the European Union, averaged 25% of the vote in the wards where it was standing in the English local elections earlier this month.

This has prompted suggestions that some Eurosceptic Conservative MPs could run on a joint ticket in an effort not to lose their seats.

Start Quote

This is not party policy and it's not going to happen”

End Quote Conservative spokesman

But Ms Dorries is the first to say she would consider the move.

She told the Spectator: "I will be having that kind of conversation with my association."

The former nurse added: "There are members in my association who approached me recently who are confused. They have always been Conservative and will never change their allegiance but feel very much as though they have a huge amount of empathy with UKIP."

The magazine quotes her as saying it would "be a travesty if UKIP came in and took the seats off our councillors or indeed me" when their policies and beliefs were very similar.

"Because what we have done, we have thrown clothes off and they have picked them up and put them on."

'Divided right'

Ms Dorries told the BBC News Channel: "I'm not actually saying that people should change their allegiance from the Conservatives to UKIP. I'm saying the contrary: that to stop Labour getting back into power in 2015, we need to look at imaginative ideas.

"A divided right allows the left to get in."

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Any Labour candidate who tried to stand on a joint ticket with UKIP would be auto-excluded from the Labour Party ”

End Quote Angela Eagle Labour

Ms Dorries insisted that Conservative MPs would not have to make decisions for another year and they could remain in the party, but seek the "endorsement" of UKIP.

But a Conservative Party spokesman said: "This is not party policy and it's not going to happen".

For Labour, Shadow Commons Leader Angela Eagle said Ms Dories's comments, shortly after having the Conservative whip restored, showed how "weak" David Cameron was.

She added: "Any Labour candidate who tried to stand on a joint ticket with UKIP would be auto-excluded from the Labour Party - it's as simple as that."

Before her appearance on I'm a Celebrity..., Ms Dorries said the Tory leadership was dominated by "arrogant posh boys".

In her interview with the Spectator she said the Conservatives were in a similar position to Sir John Major's government in 1997, when the party was heavily defeated by Tony Blair's Labour.

Ms Dorries said: "[Voters] hated us because the Labour Party promise the vision, the song Things Can Only Get Better had a purchase on people's imagination, and in their hearts that I see being replicated by UKIP today."

Another Eurosceptic Tory MP, Peter Bone, has floated the idea of people running on a joint Conservative-UKIP ticket, but insists he has no plans to do so himself.

His party colleague, Jacob Rees-Mogg, has suggested said the two parties could merge, with UKIP leader Nigel Farage replacing Nick Clegg as Deputy Prime Minister.

Mr Farage told the BBC's Daily Politics earlier this week that a law change meant that candidates could now have the logos of more than one party on election ballot papers, and suggested this might pave the way for joint Conservative-UKIP candidates.

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