With less than 100 days to go until the general election, UKIP have selected candidates in 80 more constituencies than the Liberal Democrats — a figure which rises to 130 if you include candidates adopted by Kippers at local meetings but not yet confirmed by their party’s NEC.
While the Liberals’ current tally marks significant progress from the turn of the year — when they had secured a named candidate in less than half the 631 seats outside Northern Ireland — figures compiled by Scrapbook are yet another measure suggesting the party is in danger of becoming merely one of a cohort of smaller parties chasing the ‘big two’:
- Liberal Democrats: 382 seats selected, 60% of target
- UKIP: 462 seats selected, 73% of target
- The Green parties in Scotland, England and Wales: 348 seats selected
Briefing the Guardian last month, the yellow peril “denied that the [selection] figures showed a drop in party morale or a sign of lack of enthusiasm.”
So why are top brass parachuting candidates into constituencies whose rudimentary local party structure has collapsed even since the middle of this parliament?