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Nigel Farage would have Paul Nuttall’s ‘110 per cent support’ if he contested South Thanet by-election for Ukip

PUBLISHED: 14:05 12 April 2017

Nigel Farage. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Nigel Farage. Photo: Yui Mok/PA Wire

The party has already started opening nominations, despite there being no indication of a vote being triggered

Nigel Farage would have the “110 per cent” backing of Paul Nuttall if he contested a by-election for the party in South Thanet, the Ukip leader has said.

Speculation has gathered steam in recent weeks that a re-run of the 2015 vote could be triggered following an expenses scandal in which the Conservative Party is said to have “understated” spending during campaigning for the Kent seat.

In that election, Craig Mackinlay was victorious over then-Ukip leader Mr Farage, whose party has already opened nominations for candidates, despite there being no indication of such an election being on the cards.

Mr Mackinlay was reportedly quizzed by Kent Police for six hours last month shortly before the Electoral Commission watchdog published the findings of its investigation into the spending.

Subsequently, Ukip leader of Thanet District Council, Chris Wells, said the MP should resign “if he has a decent, moral bone in his body”.

On a visit to Margate this week to drum up support ahead of next month’s Kent County Council elections, Mr Nuttall hinted at a future for Manston Airport but dodged the opportunity to make a similar statement to Cllr Wells, when quizzed by Kent News.

“Chris is far closer to it than I am, he’s the man here on the ground, let’s just see what the police do with this,” he told us.

“I will react to whatever happens, but if there is a by-election Ukip will fight it and fight it hard and if Nigel decides to fight it himself, he will have my 110 per cent support.”

Mr Mackinlay has repeatedly declined to comment on the row as police continue to investigate.

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