General Election 2015: Nigel Farage 'to run for MP seat in Thanet South'

 

Deputy Political Editor

Nigel Farage is to launch a bid to become an MP at next year’s general election by standing in the Kent constituency of Thanet South, local activists have disclosed.

The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat, although speculation has centred on his home county of Kent.

Party workers in Thanet South, which centres on the seaside towns of Ramsgate and Broadstairs, said he would be one of three potential candidates presented to Ukip members at a hustings this month.

“It is the worst-kept secret in town,” said Rozanne Duncan, the local party secretary, told the Financial Times.

“We now have two names on the list and one of them is Mr Farage. Whether he will get selected or not is another matter, although I’d be surprised if he doesn’t.”

Martyn Heale, a Ukip councillor for Ramsgate, told reporters: “I think everyone who has applied so far lives in Kent.”

Mr Farage stood in the constituency in the general election of 2005, when he came fourth, but his party’s electoral prospects have been transformed out of recognition since then.

Ukip topped the poll in this year’s European elections, with Kent among the southern and eastern English counties where it performed particularly strongly. The anti-EU party has also won a string of local council seats in Kent.

A survey last month by Lord Ashcroft, the Tory millionaire, suggested Ukip was on course to capture Thanet South from the Conservatives at the election. He also said the party could win the Essex seat of Thurrock and come second in Great Yarmouth in Norfolk.

The three seats have large numbers of older, white, working-class voters who are widely seen as most receptive to Ukip’s message.

The current Thanet South MP, Laura Sandys, who is stepping down at the election for personal reasons, is an enthusiastic pro-European. In anticipation of Mr Farage’s likely candidacy, the Tories have selected a former Ukip activist to contest the seat.

A Ukip spokeswoman sought to dampen expectation that the party leader was about to declare publicly his interest in his seat.

She said: “The branch are starting to receive nominations from people interested in standing, but there's no shortlist of candidates yet.

“Even when there is a shortlist of candidates finalised for hustings, that list will be kept confidential. We are still a long way off announcing a candidate for Thanet South.”

Mr Farage unsuccessfully challenged the Commons Speaker John Bercow in his Buckingham seat in 2010, although his campaign ended in near-disaster when a light aircraft he was travelling in crashed. He later confessed he felt lucky to be alive.

As the party’s popularity has surged in the last two years, the Ukip leader has twice considered standing in by-elections and twice been accused of “bottling” throwing his hat in the ring.

Critics said he could have achieved victory if he had contested the Hampshire seat of Eastleigh, where Ukip narrowly failed last year to defeat the Liberal Democrats.

He also opted not to stand in the Newark by-election in June, explaining: “I would have been seen to be an opportunist. I would have been seen to be somebody effectively sent up from London and I am not sure electorally it would have worked anyway.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

£65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

£50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

£27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas