Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell visit Clacton today, where Roger Lord wants to remain a candidate. Photo: Getty
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Roger Lord, Ukip's original Clacton candidate, may defect to the Tories

Ukip's Clacton candidate, who is refusing to give way to Douglas Carswell, is now considering defecting himself - to the Conservative party.

In a teetering-on-tedious game of what appears to be right-wing swapsies, the initial Ukip candidate for Clacton, Roger Lord (who was a Conservative party member in the past) has hinted on LBC that he may defect to the Tories.

Douglas Carswell, MP for Clacton, yesterday defected from the Conservatives to Ukip, and is triggering a by-election. But Lord has insisted that he wants to remain a candidate for Clacton, and won't step aside for him. He said yesterday:

It's pretty arrogant of Douglas Carswell to assume that the voters and the electorate are like sheep and they will just go along with this.

I genuinely hope that the national executive of Ukip will hear me out. For starters though It's pure bad manners for someone from Ukip who I have never met to just ring me up and tell me to shut up.

Now, Lord has told LBC that he is considering doing a reverse-Douglas and joining the Tories instead, to be the Conservative candidate for the Clacton by-election. Here's the clip:

Would you go back to the Conservatives if they made you the right sort of approach?

It's gotta be a damn good deal, a damn good deal.

But it's a possible, is it?

It's a possible, but we shall see. Douglas Carswell's still got the opportunity to do a deal, OK?

...

Have the Tories been in touch?

Sorry, you're breaking up, due to the wind...

I personally think the best part of this interview is when Lord says, "I know what's happening in South America" and the presenter James O'Brien goes "ooh!"

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

Photo: Getty
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What does François Bayrou's endorsement of Emmanuel Macron mean for the French presidential race?

The support of the perennial candidate for President will boost Macron's morale but won't transform his electoral standing. 

François Bayrou, the leader of the centrist Democratic Movement and a candidate for the French presidency in 2007 and 2012, has endorsed Emmanuel Macron’s bid for the presidency.

What does it mean for the presidential race?  Under the rules of the French electoral system, if no candidate secures more than half the vote in the first round, the top two go through to a run-off.

Since 2013, Marine Le Pen has consistently led in the first round before going down to defeat in the second, regardless of the identity of her opponents, according to the polls.

However, national crises – such as terror attacks or the recent riots following the brutal arrest of a 22-year-old black man, who was sodomised with a police baton – do result in a boost for Le Pen’s standing, as does the ongoing “Penelopegate” scandal about the finances of the centre-right candidate, François Fillon.

Macron performs the most strongly of any candidate in the second round but struggles to make it into the top two in the first. Having eked out a clear lead in second place ahead of Fillon in the wake of Penelopegate, Macron’s lead has fallen back in recent polls after he said that France’s rule in Algeria was a “crime against humanity”.

Although polls show that the lion’s share of Bayrou’s supporters flow to Macron without his presence in the race, with the rest going to Fillon and Le Pen, Macron’s standing has remained unchanged regardless of whether or not Bayrou is in the race or not. So as far as the electoral battlefield is concerned, Bayrou’s decision is not a gamechanger.

But the institutional support of the Democratic Movement will add to the ability of Macron’s new party, En Marche, to get its voters to the polls on election day, though the Democratic Movement has never won a vast number of deputies or regional elections. It will further add to the good news for Macron following a successful visit to London this week, and, his supporters will hope, will transform the mood music around his campaign.

But hopes that a similar pact between Benoît Hamon, the Socialist Party candidate, and Jean-Luc Jean-Luc Mélenchon, the Left Front’s candidate, look increasingly slim, after Mélenchon said that joining up with the Socialists would be like “hanging himself to a hearse”. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.