Well, the Ukip constituency association in Newark has certainly considered Nigel Farage’s musings on the success of appointing an unknown local candidate in a pivotal by-election… and completely ignored it. They’ve picked Roger Helmer, who, as Seb says, is not known for his mollifying centre-ground views.

His selection as the party’s candidate for the Newark by-election is a gift for CCHQ, which now needs a teaspoon rather than a spade to dig out awkward comments the MEP has made. Perhaps it also suggests that Ukip have decided there’s not much hope of winning so why bother to field a good candidate who the party’s opponents would lay into. Or perhaps that’s reading too much into it: decisions that look baffling from the outside tend to be down to complex internal party politics.

Of course, if Ukip go on to do very well in Newark anyway with such a sitting duck as a candidate, that will send the Conservative party into a spectacular meltdown.

Tags: Newark by-election, Roger Helmer, UK politics, UKIP