Poll: Ukip set to claim second Commons seat in Rochester by-election as new poll suggests party has 12% lead

The right-wing party is set to gain its second MP

Ukip look set to gain their second MP in next week's Rochester and Strood by-election and deal the Conservatives a humiliating defeat, a new poll suggests.

Mark Reckless - the former Conservative backbench MP whose defection to the Euro-sceptic party triggered the contest - is enjoying a 12 percent lead over the Tories at 44 percent, while Tory candidate Kelly Tolhurst is set to gain 32 percent of the vote.

Meanwhile, Labour candidate Naushabah Khan is trailing on 17 percent in the south eastern town, with the Liberal Democrats attracting just 2 percent of support.

The results of the poll of 1,002 UK adults taken over the weekend by Tory peer Lord Ashcroft comes after David Cameron visited the constituency for the fourth time in the campaign today, where he urged Labour and Lib Dem supporters to vote Tory to stop Ukip from winning.

 

"I would say to people who have previously voted Labour, Liberal, Green or anything, that if you want a strong local candidate and don't want some Ukip boost and all the uncertainty and instability that leads to, then Kelly is the choice," he told the Kent Messenger newspaper.

"The campaign is going to shape up in the next ten days into a very clear choice: you can vote for Ukip and be part of the national campaign and another notch for them in their development and then the great caravan will move on, or you can vote for Kelly, who is a hard-working, local person, born and raised locally," he argued.

"I think there will be lots of Labour supporters in Rochester and Strood who don't want to see Ukip with their divisiveness and their message succeed here."

But he insisted it was not an admission of weakness.

"I think in politics you should always try to reach out to other voters; you should never just rely on your base or core vote.

"Every MP, every candidate, is always trying to win over new supporters."

In a bid to retain votes, the Prime Minister has promised to visit the area once more before the ballot next Thursday, and has urged the party's MPs to follow his example – seeing ministers flock to the area.

The poll is the latest to show a big lead for Mr Reckless, who is bidding to follow Douglas Carswell by defecting to Ukip and retaining his seat.

Survation research a fortnight ago put Ukip on 48 percent and the Conservatives on 33 percent.

And last month, a ComRes poll commissioned by Ukip showed that Nigel Farage’s party had a 13-point lead over the Tories.

Additional reporting by PA

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