Some Brexit-backing Tories are set to benefit as Ukip decides to focus on taking on pro-EU candidates in the election
SENIOR Tories are in talks over electoral pacts with Ukip against Theresa May’s direct orders – the Sun can reveal.
Philip Hollobone MP became the first to break cover by declaring he was delighted Ukip had given him their backing in Kettering.
He said he had talks with Ukip earlier this week and that he fully backed the party’s controversial burka ban and welcomed their decision.
He said: “We are on the same side. We both want a clean Brexit.”
Sources claim Ukip won’t stand against Andrew Bridgen in North-West Leicestershire or Peter Bone in Wellinborough.
Stewart Jackson in Peterbrough is not expected to face Ukip opposition – and neither is Karl McCartney in Lincoln.
The revelations came as Ukip chief Paul Nuttall launched his party’s Election campaign – and confirmed Ukip would not be standing against dozens of Brexit-backing candidates to given them a “free ride”.
It emerged that the party would not contest Vauxhall, where Labour ‘Leaver’ Kate Hoey is MP.
Mr Nuttall – who will tomorrow confirm he is standing in Boston & Skegness – fiercely denied rumours Ukip was struggling to raise money.
But one source told the Sun: “Ukip is reaching the end of the road.
“Why would they stand a candidate against a ‘Leave’ Tory when they could lose their deposit?”
A Conservative spokesman would only say: “In this election a vote for any candidate other than the Conservative candidate risks the prospect of Jeremy Corbyn.”
But a source told the Sun: “We don’t enter into or support electoral pacts.”
Lib Dem Shadow Foreign Affairs spokesman Tom Brake said: “Ukip and the Tories are signing pacts – this is a coalition of chaos which threatens the safety of our country.
“We need strong and stable leadership, led by Tim Farron.”
Ukip chief Paul Nuttall insisted it was wrong to “write off” his party ahead of the June 8 election. And he said the upcoming manifesto would be “radical”.
While admitting Ukip would help Brexit-backing Tory and Labour MPs, he said the party’s voters had to turn out in force elsewhere to deny Theresa May a big majority. He said this would allow the PM to “backslide on Brexit”.
He said: “We are not convinced that the Prime Minister, who campaign to Remain in the Referendum, will get the deal the British people want.
“She is already beginning to backslide on immigration, with the Government now telling us that immigration will run at today’s level for the next decade.”