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It almost caught up with me:  Is it Thursday?  Today’s the UK by-election!  The news is encouraging but as President Dewey told me, the votes are the polls that count!

If Reckless wins, it could be a disaster for the Tories (I feel funny writing this – like I expect Dame Thatcher to swat me on the back of the head, Jethro Gibbs style, for even thinking it!  But I feel the former PM and my hero(ine) would defect to UKIP.)

If he doesn’t and Ukip do win, it could be the biggest electoral upset in David Cameron’s Downing Street tenure and prove Farage can appeal to just about anyone.

(Apparently Oxford English treats groups like UKIP as a plural noun!)

Part of that disaster could be more defections of Tory MPs to the liberty and sovereignty party:

Two Conservative MPs are considering jumping ship to Nigel Farage’s party if it wins the Rochester and Strood byelection, Ukip candidate Mark Reckless said on Wednesday.

Reckless, the former Tory MP whose defection triggered the contest, made the claim on the eve of a vote likely to return him as Ukip’s second MP. Further defections would be likely to prompt a crisis in Downing Street about the haemorrhaging of the Tory vote six months before the general election, and potentially a move on David Cameron’s leadership.

Here’s a list of potential defectors:

Philip Hollobone, the Eurosceptic MP for Kettering, is seen as one of the most likely defectors. He is a regular rebel who is one of four Tory MPs who are carrying out local polls on Britain’s EU membership in the same way as Reckless and Carswell did before their defections.

Hollobone, who has denied he is planning to defect to Ukip, is also a supporter of the anti-EU Better Off Out group. In a statement on its website he said: “Millions of British people have never had the chance to vote on whether or not to be in the EU. In 2006, you have to be at least 49 years of age to have taken part in the last UK referendum on Europe.”

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley who, is a member of the Better Off Out group, regularly confronts Cameron over Europe. But their humorous exchanges – and his friendship with the work and pensions minister Esther McVey – suggest Davies would be expected to think very carefully before defecting


Martin Vickers, the MP for Cleethorpes who is also holding a mini-EU referendum, said Ukip had offered not to challenge him in exchange for a free run in neighbouring Grimsby. Vickers told the Mail: “From a purely selfish point of view, that would be quite welcome, but I can’t deliver it. Even if the local party was willing to do it, we’re a national party and we will have a candidate in every seat.” But Vickers said there was “absolutely no way, under no circumstances whatsoever” that he would defect.

Peter Bone, MP for Wellingborough, has denied planning to defect, although he followed Reckless and Carswell in holding a local EU poll in his constituency. Bone, in common with other Tory MPs holding the polls, has been advised by Chris Bruni-Lowe, who worked for Carswell before his defection, according to the Daily Mail.

Bone admitted that his mini-referendum was a “crib” of the one used by Reckless. But he insisted that he was not about to defect. Asked by the Daily Mail whether he was considering it, he said: “I deny that 10,000%. I have been a member of the Conservative party since I was 15. I believe we should have a pact with Ukip [but] I have never had any discussions with anyone in Ukip about defecting.”

John Baron, MP for Basildon and Billericay, another serial rebel who has been highly critical of David Cameron’s foreign interventions, is also high on the list of potential defectors.


Baron declined to rule out joining Ukip last month. He told Newsnight: “You should never say never in politics but the bottom line is my very strong preference is to stay within the Conservative party”.

I think it’s Baron and Bone.  And there could be a Labourite – the first Farage Labourite MP – to defect, according to Carswell:

Mr Carswells revealed that within hours of his Clacton by-election triumph, he took a call from a Labour MP poised to jump.

Speaking on Friday, he said: ‘A member of the parliamentary Labour party called me this morning and we had a chat about them coming over.

‘It’s looking very promising,’ he told The Sunday Times. ‘For years and years and years, like monopolistic businesses, they assumed the customers had nowhere else to go.

And Carswell is suggesting mass defections of MPS without by-elections!
THE UK Independence Party will today tell MPs to defect “en masse” without having to fight a by-election in the wake of Douglas Carswell’s expected victory in Clacton.

The new Carswell principle is over-ridden by a long-standing Parliamentary convention that states by-elections do not need to take place six months before a general election, Ukip sources say.

Potential defectors who fear losing their seats will be told that if switch sides in November or December they can remain in the Commons, and spend the Spring campaigning “aggressively” as a Ukip MP, allowing voters to “get used” to the new party ahead of the 2015 election.

If that happens, there will be another political earthquake in the UK – with the delicious possibility that UKIP could actually WIN the 2015 General Election.  We’ll see; get out the vote in Rochester and Strood today!

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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