Bournemouth is more than 100 miles from Clacton but events in the Essex seaside town may have reprecussions for the south coast.
UKIP, at least for the next 24 hours, don’t have any MPs. However a poll released today by YouGov show that the party currently stands to gain 15% of the vote at the general election next May. This figure is higher than the Liberal Democrats who poll at nearly half on 8%.
A reason why tomorrow’s decision by the voters of Clacton could be important for Bournemouth residents is the similarities in population between the two towns. A UK Poling Report survey conducted after the 2010 election said that Clacton was ‘ better characterised as retirement destinations than tourist ones with high proportions of over 65s in the electorate’, this compares with Bournemouth who have a higher portion of over 65s than the national average with neighbouring Christchurch being the town with the most elderly people in Britain. A survey published in the Daily Mail in March said that UKIP voters are more likely to be retired.
Martin Houlden is the prospective Parliamentary candidate for UKIP for Bournemouth West and refutes the charge that UKIP are a party just for the over 65s saying that the party offered hope for young people by working to stem the flow of immigration making it easier for young people to find work. He said: “UKIP offer younger people the chance to actually start making a life for themselves. At the moment it’s simply not worth it for a lot of them as wages are suppressed due to over supply in the labour market, and the opportunities for a steady career climb are just aren’t there.”
The by-election in Clacton was triggered by the resignation of the Tory whip by elected MP Douglas Carswell who announced his intention to contest the constituency under the UKIP banner. As the sitting MP for the area prior to the announcement of the by-election, Mr Carswell enjoys significant support in Clacton and took 53% of the vote in 2010. Any hopes of a similar switch in the Bournemouth West constancy appeared to be dashed in March when sitting MP Conor Burns said in a blog written for the Spectator that UKIP policies were “intellectually lacking robustness, lazy and in many ways contradictory”.
Explaining what UKIP can offer voters of Bournemouth that the main three political parties cannot, Mr Holden said: ” Change – but this time a real change. We heard that word “change” from all the other parties in 2010, and yet can you honesty say what has changed? Even the expenses claimed are now above what they were back then. When we look at the key policy areas like the economy or immigration – the other 3 parties all claim to be offering differences, but in reality it’s different flavours of the same thing”.
At the last general election UKIP candidate Philip Glover took just 7.2% of the vote however weeks before the vote they were polling nationally at around just 3% according to an ICM survey. If UKIP manage to repeat the same success in Bournemouth West in line with their current average polling rating they would be on course for 36% of the vote in the constancy in May.[portfolio_slideshow id=211675]
Who are UKIP?
UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) are a right-wing political party established in 1993 who advocate the UK withdraw from the European Union. The party is lead by Nigel Farage who is not currently elected to Parliament but is an MEP.
How many MPs do UKIP have?
UPDATED: UKIP currently have one MP, Douglas Carswell in Clacton. In addition they also have 24 MEPs who are the elected representatives of the European Parliament and 214 council seats across England, three in Wales and one in Northern Ireland.
Do UKIP have any elected councillors in Bournemouth?
No, however they do have one representative on Dorset County Council
Who are the Conservative MPs who have defected to UKIP?
So far the two MPs are Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell
Do the Conservatives and UKIP have different policies on Europe?
Yes. UKIP support a complete withdrawal from the European Union. Whereas the Conservatives favour renegotiating Britain’s terms with the EU and then asking the British people in a referendum planned for 2017 to decide whether to stay or leave the EU