Farage’s candidacy for seat ‘worst-kept secret in town’

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NIGEL FARAGE is edging closer to confirming he will run for parliament at the General Election amid mounting speculation that he will contest a seat in the South-East.

Ukip activists have claimed that Mr Farage is on a shortlist for the Thanet South seat in Kent – although aides to the party leader insist that no list has been drawn up.

Rozanne Duncan, the secretary of the local branch of the party, said: “It is the worst-kept secret in town. We now have two names on the list and one of them is Mr Farage.

“Whether he will get selected or not is another matter... although I’d be surprised if he doesn’t.”

Mr Farage has previously dropped heavy hints that he will seek election in Thanet South – where Tory incumbent Laura Sandys is standing down. The MEP was born in Kent and lives nearby.

A Ukip spokeswoman said: “The branch are starting to receive nominations from people interested in standing, but there’s no shortlist of candidates yet.

“Even when there is a shortlist of candidates finalised for hustings, that list will be kept confidential.

“We are still a long way off announcing a candidate for Thanet South.”

Mr Farage unsuccessfully challenged Commons Speaker John Bercow in his Buckingham seat in 2010.

However, since then Ukip has made some significant electoral advances – including coming top in European polls in May.

Speculation about Mr Farage’s potential candidacy comes after another high-profile member of his party confirmed that she is to contest a seat in the General Election.

It was announced on Wednesday that Yorkshire Ukip MEP Jane Collins will try to wrestle the Rotherham Central seat away from Labour at the election next year.

Rotherham has been identified as one of the areas where Ukip will focus its efforts to secure its first Commons seat next year after it took 10 council seats in the Labour stronghold in the May local elections, making it the main opposition group.

Mrs Collins, who was one of three Ukip MEPs elected to represent Yorkshire this year, came second to current MP Sarah Champion when the Rotherham Central seat was contested in a by-election in 2012.