Tory MPs have been told they can not use a recently passed law that some feared was designed to allow joint Lib Dem-Conservative Party candidates to stand as joint Ukip-Tory candidates in 2015.
Mid Bedfordshire MP Nadine Dorries told The Spectator that she would consider standing on a joint Ukip-Tory ticket at the next election.
A Clause in the recently passed Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 (below) allows candidates who want to stand as jointly for two parties to have a single logo on the ballot paper that represents their joint candidacy.
At the time the change was made the government said it was to allow the Labour MPs who are also members of the Co-operative Party to use the Labour logo or a specially created Labour-Co-op logo.
But some Tories were suspicious that coalition ministers were paving the way for joint coalition candidates in 2015.
Back in 2010 Tory MP and coalition enthusiast Nick Boles floated the idea of Tory and Lib Dem candidates standing on a joint ticket to defend to government's record.
At the time Dorries said she would "rather die" than go into a full election as a coalition candidate. "I am a Conservative. I joined the Conservatives because I believe in Conservative values," she said.
How times change. Given the sour turn internal government relations have taken the idea of coalition candidates now seems extremely unlikely.
But the Conservative leadership now faces the prospect of having to fight of attempts by Tory MPs to use the law they passed amid fears it would lead to joint Tory-Lib Dem candidates to stand as joint Tory-Ukip candidates under a merged logo.
Asked if Dorries would be allowed to run as a joint Ukip-Tory candidate David Cameron said: "The Conservative Party doesn't do pacts and deals". According to the Daily Mail the Conservative Party will "disqualify" any of its MPs that tries to stand on a joint ticket with Nigel Farage's party.
As for any Labour MP considering seeking Ukip's endorsement. Angela Eagle, the shadow leader of the Commons, has said they would be "auto-excluded from the Labour Party".
Electoral Registration and Administration Act 2013 - Use of emblems on ballot papers
If a candidate who is the subject of an authorisation by two or more parties under rule 6A(1B) so requests, the ballot paper shall contain, against the candidate’s particulars, the registered emblem (or, as the case may be, one of the registered emblems) of one of those parties.
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