UK & World News

  • 30 April 2014, 5:27

By-Election Battle: Farage May Fight For Seat

Nigel Farage is expected to decide by lunch-time whether to battle for the seat of Newark in the wake of disgraced Tory minister Patrick Mercer's resignation.

Mr Farage says he is seriously considering running for the seat, but added he is currently focussed on next month's European election.

With the Newark by-election to be held after the May 22 European poll, Mr Mercer's resignation provides a chance for the UKIP leader to contest a Westminster seat.

Sky's Chief Political Correspondent Jon Craig said: "Mr Farage has always said he would not stand in a by-election until after the European elections.

"The European elections are on May 22 - it's virtually impossible for a by-election to be held on the same day.

"So we're looking at ... a by-election in June or July realistically, and it's possible Mr Farage may throw his hat in the ring.

"That would be an electrifying by-election, an absolute nightmare for David Cameron."

Mr Farage told The Daily Telegraph: "I'm going to give it very serious consideration. I want to become an MP and I want UKIP to be represented in the Commons."

UKIP has seen a significant boost in its support over recent weeks, according to several polls.

One poll conducted earlier this month put support for the party at 20%, four points higher than in March.

Mr Mercer announced his resignation on Tuesday over allegations he was paid to ask questions in Parliament.

He made a statement on the College Green following claims he set up an All-Party Parliamentary Group for undercover reporters posing as lobbyists.

"I argue with nothing the Committee has said or may not have said because I still don't know officially,"he said.

"With great heaviness of heart, and I'm hoping the people of Newark will be able to tolerate me in future, I'm hoping they will, I'm going to resign my seat in God's county of Nottinghamshire in the town of Newark.

"I hope that my successor, who has been very carefully chosen, will be the Conservative candidate."

Mr Mercer admitted he was "ashamed" as he apologised for his actions.

Following the resignation, a Conservative spokesman said: "We agree that Patrick Mercer needs to stand down and that there should be a by-election so the people of Newark can have a new MP."

The Newark Conservative Association has confirmed that Robert Jenrick has been selected as the Tory candidate for the by-election.

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