A senior Conservative MEP has called for an electoral pact between his party and Ukip as the Eurosceptic insurgency looked set to top a national election for the first time.
With most of the UK’s 73 seats in the European Parliament declared, Nigel Farage’s Ukip was on track to be the largest party in votes and seats.
Daniel Hannan, who was elected for the Conservatives in the South East region, said he believed there was a majority of votes on the right of the electorate in Britain.
He told Sky News: “For a party that is in government in Westminster, not to be being pummelled at this stage is pretty good news.
“I will repeat what I have said: if you add the Conservative and Ukip votes together in this country – and I know it doesn’t work as simply as that – a rough ballpark figure, we are something like 56% of the total vote.
“It would be very sad if the two right-of-centre Eurosceptic parties at the general election were not able to find some way, at least in marginal seats, of reaching an accommodation so that anti-referendum candidates don’t get in with a minority of votes.
“How it would work, if it were to happen, is obviously to be determined at a more senior level than mine. But if personal rivalries and animosities put Ed Miliband in with a minority of the vote, that would reflect badly on all concerned.”
Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps ruled out any pact as the results came in.
He told the BBC: “We are not going to have a pact or joint candidates or what have you. It can’t happen anyway, it can’t happen on a technical basis because we do not allow joint candidates to stand.
“We are a single party, no other party would have joint candidates.”