Tories rule out Ukip election pact

Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps
Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps
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THE CONSERVATIVEs have defended their controversial Yorkshire Ukip defector as the Tory chairman vows there will be no electoral pact with Nigel Farage.

Grant Shapps has told voters there will be no “pacts or deals” with Ukip as he became the latest senior Tory to join the election battlefield.

The Tory chairman said Ukip leader Mr Farage had been “pretty desperate” in his attempts to criticise MEP Amjad Bashir, who switched sides last week.

Mr Shapps insisted that the Mr Bashir’s defection was successful, despite subsequent allegations that he had been under investigation by Ukip over financial and employment issues and had previously been a member of the far-left Respect.

“I welcome anybody, regardless of where they’ve been in the past - with the exception of extreme parties,” said the Tory chairman.

He said Nigel Farage had continued to defend Mr Bashir against the allegations, and had been happy for him to appear on Ukip platforms, until he got wind of his defection “and suddenly they rush out of the door all of the stuff that’s already been there for years. It’s pretty desperate stuff to be perfectly honest.”

Asked of the prospect of a Ukip pacts the General Election approaches, Mr Shapps said: ““I can rule out - We are not going to do pacts and deals with Ukip.”

Mr Shapps ruled out a Ukip deal as he used a London speech to set out a “30 days of Labour chaos” document citing everything from rebellious MPs to fears the party is anti-business as sign the Labour leadership has stumbled through January.

In his attack on Ed Miliband’s Labour party Mr Shapps said that while the latest opinion polls were far from positive, there were encouraging signs.

“Actually, we have seen the opinion polls close, but I’m the first to concede this is going to be an incredibly close election,” he said.

He suggested that any result other than Tory victory could result in “a large degree of chaos”.

“With the Conservatives, you may like it or not but you know what you are getting,” he said. “You are getting a competent government who are serious about running the economy, serious about reducing the deficit and eventually producing a surplus. You know what our programme is.

“With any of the other choices, you are going to get a large degree of chaos.”

He was speaking after Mr Miliband appealed to media covering the general election to concentrate on the “issues” at stake and not question the motives of politicians competing for power.

Speaking at a dinner for political journalists in Westminster, the Labour leader warned that public “cynicism” about MPs had a corrosive effect on the whole political system.

He said the parties were made up of people who entered politics for “right reasons” - regardless of their affiliation.

“You will shape this election too,” he said in a direct appeal to journalists.

“And my only request is that you do your bit too to try and make this election about the issues, choices and beliefs that matter to the country as well.

“One of the biggest enemies of politics is cynicism, the belief that we are all in it for base motives.

He added: “We may have different roles and be on different sides but as custodians of politics and its reputation, we are, as somebody else once said, all in this together.”