Sir Edward Leigh has hit out at Tory Party “leadership” for a “whole host of errors” that led to last week’s by-election successes for UKIP.
Posting on the Conservative Home website, Sir Edward said “UKIP was created by the failures of our leadership” and damning the David Cameron’s ‘modernisation’ project of the Tory Party, said those who sought to “model themselves after Tony Blair’s electoral success are clueless.”
The Gainsborough MP repeated the call he issued last June when UKIP topped the European Elections to break up the Coalition.
“Every Conservative MP is desperate to stop Millband getting into Number 10 - to once again open the immigration taps and lose control of our deficit. Let’s convince them that voting Tory will give them a real Conservative government that intends to get down to business,” he said.
However, UKIP’s would be Gainsborough candidate, John Saxon, who still has to go through his party’s selection process, says the by-election results stem through voters seeking a “radical shift” from career politicians.
“UKIP is not a splinter group of the Tory Party. I believe UKIP can take seats from across the board,” said the former Labour voter.
John Saxon believes UKIP “can do the same here in Gainsborough” claiming UKIP is no longer a “single-issue party with a limited agenda”.
The former businessman lauded Sir Edward as an “experienced politician with seemingly no fear of criticising his own party” but said the MP is “in the wrong party at the wrong time.”
“Neither he, nor his party, will take us out of Europe, effectively curb mass immigration, provide effective and substantial policing or improve the NHS; and our education system will remain one of the worst in Europe,” he said.
This week, Sir Edward responded saying people can see his record in office, adding he too wants to reform the EU to become a trading bloc only.
“It must make sense for there to be informal understandings in marginal seats between UKIP and the Conservative Party to avoid splitting the right-wing vote,” he said.
“I would contend there’s no point in voting UKIP in Gainsborough. It’s not that I am more UKIP than UKIP: It’s because I am the genuine Conservative article. As UKIP becomes more populist in order to try and win Labour seats in the North, I remain true to the traditional Conservative winning message of low taxes, deregulation, independence, strong armed forces and the rule of law.”