Poll backs Farage’s Westminster bid

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Published: Friday 27th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Nigel Farage has received a boost on the eve of Ukip’s pre-election conference with a poll suggesting he is on track to become an MP.

Research by Survation for party donor Alan Bown put Mr Farage’s support in South Thanet at 39%, ahead of Labour rival WIll Scobie on 28% and Tory Craig Mackinlay on 27%.

It is welcome news for Ukip after a series of surveys suggested its backing nationally had slipped and t he party is hoping that the two-day gathering at the Winter Gardens in Margate, Kent, can restore its momentum.

Mr Farage and other speakers are expected to seize on net migration figures released yesterday that showed nearly 298,000 people came into Britain last year – almost treble David Cameron’s target.

Several other speeches, including one from deputy leader Paul Nuttall, are due to focus on the party’s traditional core issue of leaving the EU. Meanwhile, health spokesman Louise Bours will try to assuage concerns about party policies in her domain with a talk called Ukip Believes In The NHS.

But there are likely to be questions about the resignation of the chairman of the party’s LGBT group, Tom Booker, citing the “failure of the leadership to set a gay-friendly tone”.

Mr Farage was in the US last night to address the right-wing Conservative Political Action Conference, sharing a stage with Tea Party movement star Sarah Palin.

A previous Survation poll in South Thanet in November 2013 gave Labour the lead by 35% to Ukip’s 30%. But Mr Farage has since been installed as the candidate and prompting voters with the names of those representing the parties delivered the latest results.

The findings are more encouraging for the Ukip leader than research for Tory peer Lord Ashcroft last November, which suggested that the Conservatives were on track to retain the seat. The current MP, Laura Sandys, is stepping down in May.

Ukip has reportedly requested police bodyguards for Mr Farage amid concerns he is being targeted by left-wing protesters and there is speculation that demonstrations could be mounted at the Winter Gardens.

Douglas Carswell – one of two Tory defectors who won parliamentary by-elections for their new party last year – is due to speak at the conference tomorrow. He has dismissed suggestions of tensions with Mr Farage over immigration policies and rhetoric.

The other Tory defector Mark Reckless MP is also due to speak at the conference.

Published: Friday 27th February 2015 by The News Editor

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