Rochester and Strood by-election: Britain First claims credit for success of Ukip campaign

Prior to the start of the vote today, Nigel Farage’s party was firmly odds-on to secure its second MP in Mark Reckless

Adam Withnall
Thursday 20 November 2014 16:06
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With the Tory defector Mark Reckless forecast to win the hotly-contested by-election in Rochester and Strood today, his rivals on the ballot paper Britain First have suggested they only campaigned “to bolster the Ukip campaign”.

Prior to the start of the vote some bookmakers had Nigel Farage’s party as huge 1/100 favourites to take the seat, which would make Mr Reckless their second MP at the expense of the Conservative Party.

And with things going so smoothly for Ukip, the far right-wing group Britain First has tried to claim some of the credit.

In a post on its Facebook page, which has more than 580,000 likes, the self-professed “patriotic political party and street defence organisation” posted a picture for followers to print out expressing support for Mr Reckless.

Britain First did have its own candidate running in what was its first election campaign, its deputy leader Jayda Fransen.

But in a statement the group said: “Britain First did not stand in this election to attract votes.

“Our aim in this election was to gain attention and to bolster the UKIP campaign. On both counts, it seems we were successful. Good luck UKIP and Mark Reckless.”

The help is unlikely to be welcomed by Mr Farage, since Ukip tried to reject “any association” with Britain First at the end of last month.

After a group of Ukip activists were pictured posing with Ms Fransen in Rochester, a party spokesperson said they had not understood “the nature of the group” and added: “A mistake of this nature will not happen again.”

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