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Farage throws his hat into the ring

Former Ukip leader joins the race to succeed Lord Pearson.

Undaunted by his failure to defeat John Bercow at the last election, Nigel Farage has just thrown his hat into the ring for the leadership of the UK Independence Party.

After the unlamented departure of the risible Lord Peason ("not much good", was his own accurate verdict on his time in office), it's hardly surprising that Farage fancies another go at the job, but the fact that he already leads a group in the European Parliament will raise doubts over his commitment.

Either way, whoever wins the leadership has a great opportunity to make gains at the Tories' expense at the next election. Should Tim Montgomerie's prediction that the coalition will either drift leftwards or break down prove true, there could be great scope for a right-of-centre party to win over alienated Conservative voters.

After all, at the last election, Ukip cost the Tories up to 21 seats -- enough to deny them a Commons majority. Farage's charisma and bonhomie, combined with his unrivalled Eurosceptic credentials, could make him the ideal choice again for the party.