After failing to stand for Chris Huhne’s Eastleigh seat, UKIP leader Nigel Farage could have another LibDem in his sights – party leader Nick Clegg.
Rumours about the UKIP leader’s Parliamentary intentions for Clegg’s Sheffield Hallam seat were set alight on Wednesday night when London cabbie Neil Johnson, after having one of Farage’s “inner circle” in the back of his cab, tweeted that “Nigel Farage is going up against Nick Clegg…”
Nigel Farageis going up against Nick Clegg for the Sheffield Hallam seat at the next general election.Official announcement soon.
— neil johnson (@neiljohnson1974) May 30, 2013
When LondonlovesBusiness.com put the idea of Nigel Farage standing against Nick Clegg to a UKIP spokesperson, he burst out laughing and responded: “It’s the first I’ve heard of it. Nigel is not making any decision until after the European elections”.
Additionally, Farage’s prospects of winning look dim given Clegg’s majority of over 15,000 over his runner-up Tory rival, with the UKIP candidate getting just over 1,000 votes at the 2010 General Election.
One LibDem blogger, Jonathan Calder, wrote: “If Farage stands anywhere, it will be somewhere like rural Lincolnshire not in sophisticated Sheffield Hallam.”
But speaking to LondonlovesBusiness.com on Twitter, Johnson said he had picked up the member of Farage’s team from Smith Square and took him to Paddington station. UKIP’s London presence is in Europe House on Smith Square, the current headquarters of the European Commission and the former HQ of the Tory party.
According to Johnson, the Farage confidante explained that the UKIP leader’s potential challenge to Clegg would be a “no lose situation” as if he won he would become a “bigger hero”.
Meanwhile, if Farage lost, he could blame it on Clegg’s 15,000 majority and say it was “too big to turn around and then wait for a by-election to get himself into the Commons”.