Nigel Farage has told BBC News this afternoon he intends to stand in a seat ‘south of the river’ at the general election next year. Despite undertaking a victory lap of Essex today, Farage has proclaimed he won’t be standing there:

‘There are several seats here in Essex that are absolutely winnable for us in a general election next year. I haven’t yet decided what I’m going to do but I will choose a seat; it will be a seat south of the area.’

Combined with the criteria Coffee House understands Farage has for choosing a seat, the options are slowly narrowing. The most likely options are South Thanet — which ticks all of his criteria — and Eastleigh, which would be fighting the Liberal Democrats in a straight re-run of the 2013 by-election. In both instances, Farage visited the seats in the last week of the local election campaign, suggesting he has an particular interest in those area. Here’s a breakdown the potential constituencies:

1. South Thanet

Marginal: Yes — Tories took seat in 2010 with 7 per cent swing
Local connection: Yes — Farage is a Kent man and an MEP for the region
No incumbent: Yes — Laura Sandys (Con) is standing down
South of the river: Yes
Electoral Calculus prediction: 65 per cent chance of CON hold

2. Eastleigh

Marginal: Yes — Ukip almost took seat in 2013 by-election
Local connection: No — although Farage is a frequent visitor
No incumbent: No — Ukip
South of the river: Yes
Electoral Calculus prediction: 54 per cent chance of CON gain

3. Dover

Marginal: Yes — Tories took the seat from Labour with a 5k majority
Local connection: Yes — Farage is a Kent man and an MEP for the region
No incumbent: No
South of the river: Yes
Electoral Calculus prediction: None – 50% LAB gain/50% CON hold

UPDATE: Paddy Power are giving the following odds on these seats — South Thanet 5/6, Eastleigh 7/1 and Dover 12/1

Tags: 2015 general election, Nigel Farage, Polling, UKIP