John Harris

Journalist & Author

What makes a perfect Ukip target seat?

Nigel Farage has earmarked 12 constituencies for takeover at the 2015 general election from marginalised east-coast boroughs to a Tory stronghold on the HS2 route

Nigel Farage is fond of talking about the prospect of a "political earthquake". He reckoned that Ukip coming first in this year’s European elections was worthy of the higher end of the Richter scale, and we now know where the next tremors might originate: 12 constituencies targeted by Ukip for the 2015 general election, a list of which has been seen by Sky News.

Looking through them, a couple of thoughts spring quickly to mind. First, the fact that nine of the 12 are Tory-held seems to belie all that Ukip chat about how the party now represents just as much of a threat to Labour (something underlined by the lack of seats in the post-industrial north). Second, though past election results and local demographics have obviously been considered by Ukip strategists, so has the looming retirement of sitting MPs, which Farage and co obviously think might leave certain seats wide open. Such is the art of intelligent political opportunism: you look for cracks in the ground sorry, more seismology and then try to prise them open.

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