Election campaign

What’s happened to those ‘many’ more defections to Ukip?

A couple of months ago, much of the media was gripped with a particularly extreme case of Ukip fever. The cause was the decision of first Douglas Carswell then Mark Reckless to leave the Tory party and join Nigel Farage’s party. Such was the contagious nature of these events, the press quickly started running articles that talked of more defections. The Guardian spoke of two; the Independent of “many”; while Nigel Farage was only too happy to fan the hysteria further.

Well, here we are, two months on, and how many more defections have there been? None.

Speaking after the Rochester by-election in November, the Conservative chief whip Michael Gove said he was “100% convinced” there would be no more defections from the Tory party to Ukip. And so far he has been proved right.

There’s still plenty of time for a by-election before 7 May, of course. But it might be that potential defectors are waiting until it’s too close to polling day for a by-election, and will instead simply switch sides then hold out for a win at the general election. Either way, the wind has somewhat gone out of Ukip’s bluster. For now, at least.

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