Rochester and Strood by-election: Ukip predicts 15-point lead as the Tories brace for defeat

Even more defections could come if result is strong enough, reports suggest

Ukip expects that it will win this week’s byelection in Rochester and Strood, in a landslide so strong that it could lead to further defections from the Conservatives, reports have suggested.

The Telegraph reported on Monday that Ukip was forecasting a 15 point lead in the seat, which is being contested after ex-Tory MP Mark Reckless left his old party and joined Ukip.

Writing in the paper, politics professor Matthew Goodwin said that the “Tories have started too late and remain focused on a story about the national economic recovery, which even a quick look at the surveys would show is not being felt by most Ukip voters”.

 

The Observer this weekend claimed that the Tories had given up hope of winning the seat, and were instead working to keep the margin of victory below 10 points. Reports claimed that Tories were making the admission to limit the shock of a big defeat in the byelection on Thursday.

Polls have long predicted a Ukip landslide in the seat, with one showing last weekend that the party is enjoying a 12 percentage point lead over the Tories.

Bookmaker Coral said last week that it had started paying out for a Ukip win, claiming that the contest is over and that Ukip backers should start celebrating.

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