All eyes are on UKIP this week as we head into the European and local elections with support for the party at record levels. I took a closer look at the candidate list for The Sunday Times and found dozens of former Conservative councillors (even former mayors and local Conservative party chairmen) were now swelling the UKIP ranks. Experts suggest that the electoral experience and credibility these new recruits bring could mark a crucial turning point for the party once described by the Prime Minister as “a bunch of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists”. The article can be found on the Sunday Times website here.
I was also surprised by the number of young candidates in the glossy ‘young Tory’ mould. Jack Duffin, chair of the party’s youth wing Young Independence, told me that membership has doubled in the last year. I’ve profiled a few of the young guns here.
The party has been attempting to rebrand itself after being dogged with claims of racism among its membership. Continue reading