Thursday, 25 September 2014

The 5 Tory MPs most likely to defect to UKIP

Carswell's (Above Left) defection may inspire others to do the same.

I am sure that many people reading this post will be very interested in the recent defection of Douglas Carswell MP to UKIP. Carswell's defection shook the political establishment, and, in the event of a successful By-Election victory, he is unlikely to be the last.

This post lists the top 5 Tory MPs who are likely to defect to UKIP, in my view, I must stress. I have used a wide range of data to come to these conclusions, including the bookies, behaviour of potential defectors in parliament, constituency demographics, local election results, and the so-called "UKIP potential" of their constituency, calculated by the use of the book "Revolt on the Right", which used a range of data and evidence to compile a list of the most UKIP friendly seats.

1: Chris Kelly (Member for Dudley South)

If Douglas Carswell's defection is anything to go by, then it is likely that we will soon see another defection in the shape of Chris Kelly. Chris Kelly has long been rumoured to be a likely switcher, and today, stories in the Daily Mail and Conservative Home appeared to link him strongly to defection. Dudley South is one of UKIP's best hopes in 2015, being the 13th most UKIP friendly Tory held seat, and is likely to become a 3 way marginal next time. 40% of people in the seat have no formal qualifications, well above the 23% national average. The seat has a large "Left behind" demographic which UKIP have skillfully exploited. Indeed, Labour strategists in the area have indicated that they are bracing themselves for a very tough battle in a constituency that is a must-win for Labour if they want to form a Government next year.

The MP, Chris Kelly, is retiring, but it is possible that he will defect to sit as a UKIP MP for the last 8 months of his political career, and to campaign with his successor as UKIP's candidate. Expect a very tight race in Dudley South if this happens. Kelly's record suggests that there is a chance of this happening-he is one of the most rebellious Tory MPs in the Commons.

2:) Peter Bone (Member for Wellingborough)
Peter Bone is regarded as one of the most rebellious and determined Tory backbenchers-and has been rebuked many times by Conservative Home, the official propaganda machine of CCHQ. He is one of the MPs most fiercely opposed to David Cameron's attempts to give the party a better image, being a firm opponent of abortion and a denier of climate change.

Mr Bone was voted off the 1922 Commitee (Conservative Backbencher NEC) by the modernising "301 Group", who planning a coup to replace Bone and other Tory MPs who they considered to be backwards and regressive. The reformers argued that the 1922 Committee was "run by a group of mostly cantankerous old farts who do little to further right-wing ideas" and needed to campaign on issues other than EU membership and their objections to House of Lords reform, since it was not good for the "Modern" image the Tories tried to present to the electorate.

Bone is also a member of the Cornerstone Group, known for its pro-UKIP stance, and a group infamous for its Right-Wing, Socially Conservative, anti-EU rules. Wellingborough is the 70th most UKIP friendly Tory seat-it is in an area of the East Midlands where UKIP have been doing quite well in recent European Elections, and will be looking to build on that record.

3:) Bernard Jenkin (Member for Harwich and North Essex)
You would probably be quite surprised to know that I have included Jenkin on this list, if you had any idea of his background. He served in the Shadow Cabinet of the Tory Party under Michael Howard, and was Vice-Chair of the Tory Party before he was sacked in 2006.

Looking at the fact that he has had such an illustrious career on the Tory front benches, it may seem surprising that such a figure would choose to defect. However, take a look closer and a picture of discontent is revealed. Jenkin is a very rebellious Tory MP: he is referred to as rebelling "Quite often" against his party on They Work for You. Jenkin is a determined Eurosceptic, and has been quietly sitting on the backbenches whilst Cameron has attempted to modernise his party and drag it toward the Centre Ground. Jenkin has long been rumoured to have been courted by UKIP, and the fact that he is an MP in Essex, an area where UKIP polled 40-50% of the vote in many areas at the Local Elections this year, may persuade him to jump ship, if, as expected, Douglas Carswell wins by a big margin in the Clacton By-Election on October 9th. It would be a major blow to the Tories and a slight surprise-but don't rule it out at all.

4:) Jacob Mogg ( Member for North East Somerset)
Mogg is not your traditional UKIP Politician, being very independently wealthy and coming from an area that is very wealthy itself. North East Somerset itself is very strongly Conservative, and Mogg is a commited Eurosceptic. This is an area where UKIP can be expected to poll well in 2015, despite it not being the most demographically favourable area for them.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph in May 2013, Mogg asked whether it was time to make a “big open and comprehensive offer” to UKIP. He said collaboration would be straightforward as policies were similar on the vast majoriy of issues, and he said that most Tories would like Nigel Farage to become the Deputy PM. His remarks infuriated the leadership, whilst UKIP said it was against any sort of arrangement. Paul Goodman, the editor of Conservative Home, said he believed a short-term pact was both impractical and undesirable, and did not believe that it would work.

Mogg has long sought an alliance with UKIP. He has long been open about the prospect of this, and called for it during the BBC broadcast of the 2014 Local Elections. Mogg can be regarded as a sort of Tony Benn of the Right-he is well respected by many Labour as well as Tory politicians, is very high-profile and popular in his constituency, and is a very principled Eurosceptic. Notably, he was silent on Douglas Carswell's defection when many of his fellow Tory Eurosceptics came out and openly condemned the defection. The question is, will he gamble and join UKIP, or will he play it safe and try to negotiate an individual pact with them? The choice is difficult.

5:) George Eustice (Member for Camborne and Redruth)
Cornwall has become one of UKIP's strongest areas in recent years, and Camborne and Redruth one of UKIP's strongest areas in Cornwall. The seat is the 26th most UKIP friendly Tory seat, and has a large "Left behind" demographic, of voters who have become disillusioned with both the Tories and Lib Dems. We can expect UKIP to put up a strong challenge here in 2015.

Eustice himself is a known Eurosceptic, and according to the bookies, is one of the favourites to jump ship. The UKIP vote has been increasing in the area, and he, like many others, may prefer to wait for the Clacton result before making his move.