POLITICS

Ukip Are Tory 'Cousins' That Should Return Home, Says Andrew Mitchell

26/09/2013 12:55 BST
PA
Nigel Farage, the Leader of UKIP (UK Independence Party), during his speech at the UKIP party conference, held at Central Hall in Westminster, London.

Ukip voters are "cousins" of Conservative supporters who should come back to David Cameron's party, the former Tory chief whip has said.

In an interview with the New Statesman ahead of the Conservative Party conference in Manchester next week Andrew Mitchell said of Ukip: "They are mostly our cousins and we want them back."

However if there is any family relationship, Ukip leader Nigel Farage appears more intent on committing an act of fratricide against the Tories that would make the relationship between Ed and David Miliband appear positively warm.

Conservative Party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant perhaps more accurately described the two parties as "warring brothers" in his document floating the idea of a Ukip-Tory pact at the next election.

The Ukip annual conference in London last week was "destroyed", in Farage's own words, after MEP Godfrey Bloom called a room full of women "sluts" and hit a Channel 4 journalist over the head after calling him a racist.

But Farage will have another go at stealing the limelight from Cameron, as he is due to attend events on the fringe of the Conservative conference that begins on Sunday.

Conservative backbench MPs are deeply concerned that the surge in support for Ukip could cost the them their seats at the next election, as well as deny Cameron an overall majority.

And some, including Nadine Dorries, have suggested the idea of Tory MPs standing on a joint ticket with the eurosceptic party. An proposal confirmed by Ukip's deputy leader Paul Nuttall. "A number of Conservative" MPs who would like to see a formal pre-election agreement with Ukip," he recently told HuffPost UK.

While Ukip are more of a threat to Tory MPs than they are to Labour candidates. Many Labour activists and local politicians are worried that the party leadership is complacent about the threat from Farage.

Speaking at the Labour Party conference earlier this week, Glenis Willmott MEP, the leader of the Labour Party in the European Parliament, said Ukip was "a huge problem for us".

"They are taking votes from us," she warned. Noting the success of Ukip in the North of England, she added: "They weren't taking Tory votes in those seats they were taking our votes."

And Sandy Martin, who is on the list of Labour candidates for the European Parliament, said: "There are Ukip councillors all over this country that are representing wards which used to be Labour."

He added: "We have nine Ukip county councillors in Suffolk of those nice, five of them are representing wards which we won in 2005. We need to find a way to combat Labour voters switching to Ukip."