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Farage pondering standing for UK parliament?

18.07.2012 - 11:04

Specualation is growing that Nigel Farage, leader of the euroskeptic UK Independence Party, is considering contesting a seat in the UK parliament, but it's not straightforward.

There could be a by-election in Eastleigh, a constituency that falls in Farage's seat, but the member of parliament is former MEP, Chris Huhne, a Liberal Democrat. Huhne is facing prosecution over an allegation that the MP asked his wife to take the blame for a speeding ticket. The case is expected to be before the court in October or November.

Should Huhne lose, it is widely expected that he will resign his parliamentary seat, forcing a by-election.

The seat has been closely fought between the Liberals and the Conservatives. Coalition government has not been kind to the Liberals, their support has dropped in the opinion polls and a large share of their activists have left the party, leaving the local Conservatives with an opportunity to capture a seat from their coalition parners.

However, UKIP may feel that they can capture a large part of the vote on a campaign based around an in/out referendum on the EU.

Farage contested the seat in 1994, where he lost to the Liberal candidate by over 23,000 votes. He did manage to beat the Monster Raving Loony Party's legendary leader, 'Screaming Lord Sutch' by 169 votes.

Farage will certainly beat his '94 vote and he has been actively courting the Tory right in a capmaign to force UK PM David Cameron to hold an EU membership referendum, even a close result in a by-election would seriously concern senior Tories and may manouvere them into making such a referendum a manifesto commitment for the nect general election. Farage would not need to win to 'win'.

It would not be an easy contest, for UKIP has never come close to winning a UK seat. speaking to local press, Farage said, "“I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen with Chris Huhne’s case but if Chris is found not to have told the truth then it is clear that his position as MP for this town will be untenable. So we face the prospect perhaps of an Eastleigh by-election – it could happen in October or November this year, perhaps spring next year but be assured if and when there is an election we will give it everything we have got."