Support grows for Eastleigh Ukip candidate

 

The Eastleigh by-election could hand the UK Independence Party its first Westminster seat, according to early indications from the Hampshire constituency.

Such a result would send shockwaves through the Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties, which began the campaign planning a two-way fight between the coalition partners.

Ukip's candidate, Diane James, who according to sources in the constituency "appears more Conservative than the Conservative" candidate Maria Hutchings, is understood to have had a lot of support on the doorstep from voters concerned about immigration and the NHS. Her campaign poster has no sign of Ukip's lurid yellow and purple colours but shows her pictured against a blue sky and green grass background – a trademark of David Cameron's Conservative Party.

The latest poll inside the constituency by Populus for The Times put the Lib Dem candidate, Mike Thornton, clearly ahead on 33 per cent, the Tories on 28 per cent, Ukip on 21 per cent and Labour fourth on 11 per cent. But analysis by UK Polling Report's Anthony Wells revealed that those numbers included allocating "don't knows" to parties based on how they voted in 2010. Mr Wells said that once they are discounted, the Lib Dems are on 31 per cent, the Tories 26 per cent and Ukip close behind on 25 per cent. Labour is on 12 per cent. Those canvassing for votes in Eastleigh said they were struck by how much support there had been for Ukip.

One said: "Maria Hutchings is the Conservative candidate but her rhetoric on Europe and other issues makes her sound like Ukip. Diane James comes across as more centrist and sensible. She looks and sounds like a Tory. It is possible she could win this."

At the same time, the Lib Dems have been dealt a blow by the revelations about Lord Rennard, the party's long-term by-election mastermind.

A tight finish between the Lib Dems and Ukip would leave the Conservatives in third place. It is the first by-election with Lynton Crosby in place as part-time election adviser and will fuel backbench disillusionment about Mr Cameron's leadership. Labour sources were admitting that they could come "anywhere between second and fourth" with their candidate, John O'Farrell.

Lord Oakeshott, the Lib Dem former Treasury spokesman, said: "Conservative anti-immigration and anti-European dog-whistling is a gift to Ukip." Despite increasing support for Ukip, Nigel Farage, the party leader, was criticised by former Ukip MEP Marta Andreasen, who defected to the Conservatives on Friday. In turn, the party described Ms Andreasen, in a stinging press release, as "impossible to work with".

Lib Dem ministers Vince Cable and Ed Davey will campaign in Eastleigh today. The party claimed yesterday it had knocked on more than 40,000 doors in the constituency.

Tory sources admitted that the contest, called after Chris Huhne resigned, had been "tough" and that the Tories had not won a by-election while in government since 1982. But there are likely to be questions asked over the calibre of their candidate, who opposes Mr Cameron on many issues.

Suggested Topics
News
people
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Voices
Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
voices

By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

Fall of the Berlin Wall

History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes