— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) December 12, 2014
Whatever happens over Hamilton it will be wrong
The former Conservative MP for Tatton who lost out to Martin Bell in 1997 has been much in the news of late as he has tried to be selected for a winnable seat for UKIP at GE15. The latest development, according to a report on the FT’s front page, is that spread-betting multi-millionaire and second biggest donor to the party, Stuart Wheeler, has threatened to turn the tap off if Hamilton doesn’t get selected.
In the past week Hamilton’s efforts to be the Boston & Skegness candidate and now Basildon are said, according to reports, to have been thwarted by what are being described as “dirty tricks”.
A senior party member told the FT: â€œThis is all to do with Nigel’s ego. He thinks he may not win in Thanet South [the seat for which he has been selected], so he is determined to bring Neil down. He cannot bear the thought Neil might be an MP but not Nigel.â€
This is the first general election, of course, where UKIP has a serious prospect of picking up some MPs and inevitably there’s a huge amount of media interest particularly when someone as well-known as Neil Hamilton is in the frame.
These latest developments come in a month when things have been tougher in the media for the party and its leader and it could be like this right up to May 7th.
The Hamilton case is difficult to resolve. Facing a crucial election UKIP desperately needs the resources that Stuart Wheeler is able to bring but it cannot be seen to be giving in to a major donor.
Mr. Wheeler used to be a big donor to the Conservatives. Maybe he could return.