UK & World News

  • 26 November 2012, 11:23

Michael Fabricant Wants Tory Pact With UKIP

David Cameron should agree a pact with UKIP to offset the risk the anti-EU party poses to the Tory party, a senior Conservative has claimed.

Conservative vice chairman Michael Fabricant calls for a deal to unite "warring brothers" ahead of the 2015 general election.

He insists action has to be taken to stop the "continued haemorrhage of the Conservative vote" to UKIP, which is growing in popularity as euroscepticism deepens.

Mr Fabricant wants Mr Cameron to promise a referendum on EU membership before 2015 in return for UKIP not standing against Tory candidates.

In a report titled "The Pact", he says: "The United Kingdom Independence Party is now a significant contributory factor in costing the Conservative Party victories in marginal seats.

"It is time to consider actively whether a rapprochement might be possible before the 2015 general election.

"The basis of any deal is clear: A referendum on the United Kingdom's future membership of the European Union."

The MP for Lichfield, who oversees Tory campaigning on the ground, highlights a recent poll which showed 15% of Tories would consider voting UKIP.

He claims the party cost the Conservatives between 20 and 40 votes in the 2010 general election - an amount that could have delivered an outright majority.

Mr Fabricant insists in his report, which he is passing to the Prime Minister, that the offer of an electoral pact "would not be a sign of weakness".

"It would be a pragmatic extension of existing philosophy from a party of Government. Moreover, this could mark the final rapprochement between warring brothers," he wrote.

He also told Sky News on Monday: "There is not going to be any discussion for a good 24 months yet with UKIP, but I do think there needs to be a discussion in the Conservative Party."

Asked what the Prime Minister had made of his intervention, he added: "I hope that he will simply consider it and look at that as part of a number of different strategies that he will be considering."

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has previously indicated that he was open to a deal with the Tories, but that it had to be iron-clad.

"If we were offered a deal that made it easier to push open a door marked 'independence for the United Kingdom', of course we'd consider it," he said.

"But I wouldn't even contemplate doing a deal, even if it gave the party an advantage, unless we first had written in blood I think an absolute promise that we would have a proper referendum on our relationship with the EU."

But he told Sky News that he could not agree anything with Mr Cameron as Tory leader because of his claim several years ago that UKIP was a party of "closet racists".

He also insisted that he could not be bought off with the offer of a ministerial position.

Writing on Twitter, he added: "Cameron's comments over the Rotherham case mean a deal's simply not possible."

This refers to the controversy over children being removed from foster parents in the South Yorkshire town because of their UKIP membership.

Mr Cameron has indicated he is prepared to hold a referendum on the EU but is against a straight in/out question, despite increasing pressure from hard line Tories.

He has received a boost from Mayor of London Boris Johnson, who has now spoken out against holding a referendum on whether the UK should stay in the union.

Mr Johnson suggested it would be right to go ask the people about a new treaty but said he could not see why an in/out referendum now "would be necessary".

A Conservative Party spokesman said: "Michael Fabricant does a great job campaigning in by-elections but he doesn't speak for the party on this issue.

"The safest way to protect Britain's interest in Europe is to vote Conservative. That's why we'll have Conservative candidates in every seat at the next election."