Retford: Farage rules himself out of Newark by-election after MP Mercer resigns

Retford villagers living in the Newark constituency will not be voting for UKIP leader Nigel Farage in an upcoming by-election.

That is because the controversial politician has said he will not stand as a candidate.

Former Conservative MP Patrick Mercer resigned yesterday (Tuesday) over a cash-for-questions scandal.

It was initially thought that Farage could put himself forward to represent the Newark constituency in Parliament.

It includes the Bassetlaw areas of East Markham, Rampton, and Tuxford and Trent.

Farage had suggested he would have to ‘think hard’ about contesting the seat.

But UKIP’s main man told the BBC this morning (Wednesday) that it would look ‘opportunistic’.

He said: “I haven’t had long to think about it but I have thought about it, and we’re just over three weeks away from a European election at which I think UKIP could cause an earthquake in British politics, from which we can go on and win not just one parliamentary seat but quite a lot of parliamentary seats.”

“For that reason I don’t want to do anything that deflects from the European election campaign, so I’m not going to stand in this by-election.”

“I want to focus the next three weeks on winning the European elections and also I don’t have any links with the East Midlands.”

“I would just look like an opportunist, and I don’t think that would work.”

Patrick Mercer had held the seat since 2001 but had already announced he would not contest next year’s general election.

He had been serving as an Independent since May last year.

But he resigned suddenly before the publication of a report that will call for his suspension from parliament for six months.

It is alleged that he asked questions in Parliament in return for money.

He was filmed by undercover reporters last year apparently agreeing to set up a parliamentary group to push for Fiji to return to the Commonwealth.

It a brief statement he said: “I am an ex-soldier, I believe that when you have got something wrong, you have got to ‘fess up and get on with it.”

“No point shilly-shallying or trying to avoid it. What has happened, has happened. I am ashamed of it. Therefore I am going to do what I can to put it right for the constituency of Newark.”