By-election could see first Ukip MP

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Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Voters are going to the polls today in a pair of by-elections which could see Ukip gain its first MP.

Douglas Carswell, who defected to Ukip from the Tories, is the overwhelming favourite to retain his seat of Clacton in Essex where he stood down when he changed parties, triggering a by-election.

Mr Carswell held the seat with a majority of more than 12,000 at the 2010 general election and is expected to benefit from a strong personal following.

The Tories go into the vote as underdogs but Prime Minister David Cameron insisted last week that his party could win in Clacton.

Ukip has also been campaigning strongly in the Lancashire constituency of Heywood and Middleton, which is also holding a by-election today.

The poll was triggered by the death of Labour MP Jim Dobbin, who had held the seat since 1997.

While there is anticipation of a strong challenge from Ukip candidate John Bickley, opinion polls put Labour candidate Liz McInnes comfortably in the lead.

A defeat for Labour in Heywood and Middleton would be highly damaging with less than a year to go until the general election.

Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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