• Ukip candidate Roger Helmer reckons that Farage would do a better job in the by-election campaign and defends employing an Italian citizen as his assistant
  • Tory Robert Jenrick denies being a ‘carpetbagger’ and says he wants the UK to remain in Europe

Yesterday our contributing editor Harry Cole interviewed the next MP for Newark. If the polls are to be believed that will be the Tories’ safe if dull candidate Robert Jenrick. But Ukip’s Roger Helmer is confident of causing an upset.

Robert Jenrick denied being a ‘carpetbagger’ or a ‘career politician’ ,claiming he had ‘has never worked in politics’, despite having stood in Newcastle-Under-Lyme in 2010 and attempting to get selected to a safe Tory seat in Croydon before landing Newark. He stood by his claims that was an ‘entrepreneur’, but admitted to never having set up any business beyond the company he registered while renovating his £2.3 million SW1 property.

Jenrick made much of the fact that he had moved his family to the area, settling in Southwell – although our informants in the Midlands say that Jenrick needs to sharpen up his pronunciation: it’s ‘suthull’ to the local cognoscenti.

Jenrick also said that he was a ‘consistent’ Eurosceptic. But, ideally, he would like Britain to stay in Europe, which Ukip will want to play up. As a former employee of Christie’s, we thought we better set him an antiques challenge…

Roger Helmer was bullish about Ukip’s chances, though he thinks that Nigel Farage would do a better job at campaigning than him:

‘Nigel has that enormous box office presence, and I’m sure he would do a better job than I would do. Obviously Nigel is the biggest face and the biggest asset for the party.’

He defended employing an Italian citizen as his assistant, and distanced himself from his comments on homosexuality while welcoming Ukip’s first gay MEP.

Tags: Newark by-election 2014, Robert Jenrick, Roger Helmer, UK politics