Dramatic drop in radical and far right candidates at the General Election

David Lawrence - 12 05 17

Click here to see a full list of far-right candidates standing in June’s general election

UKIP is fielding just 377 candidates, a 41% decrease from 624 in the 2015 General Election. This is, in part at least, because the Eurosceptic party is declining to contest many seats defended by stridently pro-Brexit MPs.

The dramatic decrease in candidates is also indicative of the floundering party’s current struggles. Despite expectations, UKIP has declined to field candidates in several potential target seats, such as Labour constituencies Batley and Spen and Stoke North, a constituency with the highest Brexit vote of any Labour area.

UKIP has haemorrhaged both members and donors since the EU Referendum, and the party is still reeling from disastrous local election results, in which the party lost all 145 county council seats, and won just one. According to BBC polling, UKIP’s vote has fallen to 5%, down from 22% in 2013.

In the wake of Brexit and the apparent adoption of many key UKIP policies by Theresa May’s Conservatives, the party is devoid of much of its former appeal. Resorting to a radically anti-Muslim platform, UKIP will channel its limited resources into divisive campaigning into a few key target seats.

Areas of focus will include:

  • Boston and Skegness, challenged by UKIP leader Paul Nuttall. Boston and Skegness had the strongest Brexit vote in the UK. UKIP came second in the 2015 election with 33.8% of the vote, although the party leader may struggling to gain support in a solid Tory constituency.
  • Thurrock, Essex, contested by Tim Aker MEP. Aker polled 31.7% in Thurrock, a former BNP stronghold, in the 2015 election. UKIP deputy leader Peter Whittle is contesting neighbouring constituency South Basildon and East Thurrock.
  • Hartlepool, County Durham, contested by amateur wrestler Phillip Broughton. UKIP failed to gain the seat by 3,000 votes in 2015.
  • Dudley North, West Midlands, contested by gaffe-prone MEP Bill Etheridge. UKIP polled 24% here in 2015, and UKIP and the BNP have had several councillors in this seat over the years.
  • Clacton, Essex, now contested by UKIP National Executive Committee member Paul Oakley. UKIP won the seat here in 2015, although MP Douglas Carswell has since quit the party. The area remains UKIP’s strongest area demographically, although months of bad PR in the area may have dented their chances.
  • Heywood and Middleton, Greater Manchester. contested by Jason Lee Saville, who stood in Rochdale in 2015. UKIP gained 32.2% of the vote in Heywood and Middleton in 2015.
  • Grimsby, Lincolnshire, contested by Mike Hookem MEP. UKIP polled 25% of the vote in 2015.
  • Dagenham and Rainham, Essex, is being contested by Peter Harris. Harris came second in the constituency with 29.8% of the vote in 2015.

The BNP and the English Democrats

Unsurprisingly the BNP have managed to stand just ten candidates, more evidence as if any were needed, of their complete electoral irrelevance. Their beleaguered leader Adam Walker is to stand in Bishop Auckland in the North East but has no chance of winning.

The nationalist English Democrats have mustered seven candidates, four of whom are standing in Yorkshire. Their chairman Robin Tilbrook is standing in Clacton against UKIP NEC member Paul Oakley.

Click here to see a full list of far-right candidates standing in June’s general election


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