Ukip 'reveals list of 12 seats' it plans to target in general election – and nine of them are Tory
Party is hoping to win between three and five seats in next year's election
Tuesday 26 August 2014
The list of seats likely to be targeted by Ukip at next year’s general election have been disclosed.
Nine of them are currently held by the Conservatives with one represented by a Liberal Democrat MP, another by Labour and one independent, according to internal polling that was seen by Sky News
Nigel Farage will stand in South Thanet in Kent for a second time, following his failed attempt in 2005, after being formally selected to run by party members on Tuesday night.
Many of the constituencies highlighted have seen political turmoil in recent years, with incumbent MPs resigning or being ousted.
Ukip is believed to be hoping to win between three and five seats but after its landslide victory in the European elections, the main parties will not be underestimating the challenge.
Ukip leader Nigel Farage celebrates with fellow MEP candidate Janice Atkinson, left, as he hears the European results Mr Farage hailed the huge Ukip gains as a “political earthquake” after winning more than 27 per cent of the vote in May.
“Our game is to get this right, to find the right candidates, and focus our resources on getting a good number of seats in Westminster next year,” he said.
Last year’s Eastleigh by-election, sparked by the resignation of Chris Huhne during the speeding points scandal for which he was later jailed, saw Ukip’s best-ever result in a Westminster poll.
The party’s candidate Diane James came second with 11,571 votes, fewer than 2,000 behind the winner, another Liberal Democrat.
Nick Clegg’s party is also expected to struggle in another constituency targeted by Ukip, Portsmouth South, where the incumbent MP Mike Hancock was suspended from the Lib Dems over accusations of sexual misconduct with a constituent and will stand down.
The only Labour seat on the list of Ukip targets is Grimsby, where the veteran MP Austin Mitchell is retiring after 37 years.
Another target losing its incumbent MP is Boston and Skegness, where Mark Simmonds is stepping down following his resignation as a Foreign Office minister over the “sacrifice to his family life”.
Perhaps the most ambitious aim is Aylesbury, which has been held by the Tories since 1924 and has been represented by Europe minister David Lidington for 22 years.
Video: Ukip outlines plans in June
The party will be crossing swords with Labour in some of the more marginal seats, including Thurrock in Essex, where the Conservative majority is just 92.
Ukip’s official list of targets has not yet been completed or approved by the national executive, a party source told The Independent, but there is likely to be a lot of overlap with the constituencies listed below.
Probable Ukip targets:
Sittingborne and Sheppey (Cons)
East Worthing and Shoreham (Cons)
Great Yarmouth (Cons)
Boston and Skegness (Cons)
South Thanet (Cons)
North Thanet (Cons)
Eastleigh (Lib Dem)
Portsmouth South (Independent)
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