Nigel Farage will fight a former Ukip member in next year’s general election after he was selected as his party’s candidate for the Kent constituency of South Thanet.
The Ukip leader, who beat three other candidates during hustings in Ramsgate on Tuesday night, will face Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay at next year’s general election. Mr Mackinlay is a former Ukip member who defected to the Tories in 2005.
South Thanet, one of 12 seats that the Eurosceptic party are thought to be targeting next year, offers UKIP its best chance of getting an elected MP into parliament.
The other Tory held seats in eye of Ukip are reportedly: Thurrock (92 majority at the 2010 general election), Great Yarmouth (4,276), Forest of Dean (11,064), East Worthing and Shoreham (11,105), Sittingbourne and Sheppey (12,383), Boston and Skegness (12,426), Aylesbury (12,618), North Thanet (13,528).
The two Lib Dem seats, Sky News said, was Eastleigh (1,771 majority at the byelection) and Portsmouth South (5,200 majority at the general election); while the one Labour seat is Great Grimsby (714).
Ukip gaffes and controversies
Ukip gaffes and controversies
1/18 European elections poster
Party's latest EU election posters branded 'racist' and compared to BNP campaigns
2/18 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Ukip spin doctor forced to intervene as Farage falters in disastrous radio interview
3/18 Neil Hamilton
Picture Exclusive: The year is 1998. The venue is a Springbok Club meeting. The flag is a symbol for white supremacists in South Africa. And the speaker is Ukip’s deputy chairman, Neil Hamilton
4/18 Kerry Smith
Kerry Smith resigned as would-be MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock after it emerged he had mocked gay party members as “disgusting poofters”, joked about shooting people from Chigwell in a “peasant hunt” and referred to someone with a Chinese name as a “Chinky bird”
5/18 Natasha Bolter
Former Ukip member Natasha Bolter was suspected of not having the teaching qualifications she professed to, only days after it was revealed that claims of her having attended Oxford University were also false
6/18 Ukip Calypso song
Mike Reid released a single in praise of UKIP trying to control the UK's borders, only to withdraw the single after being accused of racism for singing in a Jamaican accent
7/18 Janice Atkinson
Janice Atkinson, Ukip's South East chair, pictured by protesters while campaigning in Ashford, Kent with local party chair Norman Taylor
8/18 Ukip cancels Freephone
Ukip cancels Freephone number after protesters repeatedly called to push up costs
9/18 Farage 'car-crash' interview
Mr Farage appeared to be caught out on a number of issues, from Romanian neighbours to people speaking foreign languages on the train
10/18 Ukip employs illegal immigrants
Ukip criticised after European election candidate found employing illegal immigrants
11/18 Magnus Nielsen
Ukip candidate: 'Take away the right to vote to improve election turnout'
12/18 Poster model
A “British builder” portrayed in a Ukip poster accusing EU workers of taking UK jobs turns out to be an Irish actor - aka a migrant worker
13/18 'Arrest protesters'
Ukip called for police to arrest protesters ‘who call us fascists’ ahead of showdown with anti-fascist groups in Brighton
14/18 London Live make-up
Ukip's Nigel Farage reportedly refused to go on London Live 'without professional make up-artist'
15/18 Andre Lampitt
Ukip forced to suspend the "poster boy" of its European election broadcast, after it was revealed he had posted a series of vile racist comments on Twitter
Nigel Farage says he is taking taking legal advice over “outrageous” allegations that he is responsible for more than £50,000 of “missing” EU funding that was paid directly into his personal bank account
17/18 Have I Got News For You
Nigel Farage appears in Have I Got News For You, spends the entire episode being ridiculed over expenses and party 'fruitcakes'
18/18 Anti-gay comments
Local branch chairman for Ukip defends a party's councillor candidate Douglas Denny who called gay people “abnormal” and said he wished “they stop trying to ram it down my throat”, all while discussing whether the word “sodomite” should be used
Mr Farage predicted opposition parties would now send their “heavy artillery” in a bid to defend the South Thanet currently held by the Tories. “Somebody said I’m David Cameron’s worst nightmare,” Mr Farage said. “Well, that’s not good enough. I want to be Ed Miliband’s worst nightmare, too.”
A Labour Party spokesman said: “Ukip don't share Britain's values. Whoever's name they put on the ballot paper, the truth about Nigel Farage and his party is that they would go even further than the Tories, with policies which would be bad for hardworking people. A vote for them is a vote for higher taxes for working families, huge giveaways for the rich, scrapping rights at work and charges to see your GP.”