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Coffee House

Ukip MPs would have to trim and compromise like everyone else, wouldn’t they?

26 July 2014

1:16 PM

26 July 2014

1:16 PM

Ukip are holding an action day in Thurrock today. Their tails are up at the moment because a recent poll of marginal seats by Lord Ashcroft put them in first in Thurrock on 36%. The party also leads in Thanet South, according to this round of polling.

Ukip very kindly offered me the chance to interview its candidate in Thurrock, Tim Aker MEP (pictured above). I declined due to diary commitments; but I did submit some written questions which I thought might prove relevant if Aker was indeed elected to parliament. I haven’t heard anything back from Ukip, so I reproduce them here for readers of Coffee House to consider:

1). Assuming that Mr Aker was elected to a parliament in which Labour was in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, would he vote for or against the introduction of a graduate tax? And why?

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2). Assuming that Mr Aker was elected to a parliament in which Labour was in coalition with the Liberal Democrats, would he vote for or against the introduction or extension of wealth taxes such as a Mansions Tax or inheritance tax? And why?

3). Assuming that Mr Aker was elected to a parliament in which the Conservatives were the largest party forming a minority government, how would he vote on deficit reduction (as defined by the present government’s plan)? And why?

4). Assuming that Mr Aker was elected to a parliament in which the Conservatives were the largest party forming a minority government, would he support legislation introducing a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU? And why?

Some of those questions touch on the tension that is increasingly at the heart of Ukip: its appeal to disgruntled middle class ex-Tories on the hand, and to alienated working class ex-Labourites on the other. Lord Ashcroft says that his polls suggest that Ukip is beginning to erode the gains which Labour has made in the marginal seats since 2010. It follows, then, that if Ukip is to win a seat it will have done so thanks in great part to former Labour voters. I expect that those people see the issues surrounding question 2 in a rather different light than does, say, Sir Stuart Wheeler.

This leads me to a final point. Nigel Farage wants to take part in TV debates and other major cross-party events. It is, surely, in the interests of David Cameron and Ed Miliband to make Farage demonstrate what Ukip will do in parliament on a daily basis, especially in a hung parliament. Even smiling Nigel cannot be all things to all men all of the time.

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