That Nigel Farage was planning to stand in South Thanet was one of the worst kept secrets in politics. But Ukip turns out to be the worst secret keeper in politics, too, with confirmation of the party leader’s intentions dribbling out on a Friday afternoon at the end of a rather newsy week.
The meticulously well-sourced Jim Pickard at the FT reports local Ukip activists confirming that Farage is on their shortlist of candidates to run under the party’s banner. But the party’s spokeswoman has been stonewalling him, presumably because the Friday afternoon of an unusually newsy August week isn’t quite the right time for exciting Ukip constituency fireworks. The reason it’s a particularly bad week is that the man who makes the Nigel Farage antidote, Boris Johnson, has already confirmed he’s on his way into Parliament. Farage doesn’t want to offer himself up to the Mayor in contrast, because Johnson would actually give him a run for his money, unlike David Cameron. But two announcements about candidacies in one week from the two men draws the contrast for him. How unhelpful.
The party has issued a brief statement saying the list for the South Thanet constituency isn’t finalised yet, and a Ukip MEP tells me that ‘when Nigel is ready to go public about where he is going to stand, then he will go public’.
Still, it can’t do any harm to re-read Ian Warren’s excellent Coffee House profile of the constituency, just in case…