British Conservatives govern in coalition with the Liberal Democrats. An increasing number of Conservatives feel frustrated with the relationship, and many are clamoring for a new pact, this time with the ultra-Euroskeptic, UK Independence Party.
Tim Montgomerie of Conservative Home UK has polled Conservative party members to survey opinion about an arrangement whereby Conservatives and UKIP would cease to run candidates against each other.
Respondents were asked to rate "a pact with UKIP that avoids the two parties standing against each other in marginal seats" on a scale of -5 to +5 (where +5 equalled a "very positive impact" and -5 equalled a "very bad impact".)
1,419 [Conservative party] members voted in the survey. 397 members (28%) said a pact would have a negative impact. 128 (9%) said a pact would have no impact at all. 856 (60%) said it would have a positive impact. 38 (3%) did not give an answer.
The overall average rating was +1.18, putting it number 18 in the list of 23 ideas.
Dan Hannan MEP has warned that the Tories could be devastated at the next election if it does not agree some sort of deal with UKIP. Europe may not be near the top of voters' lists of concerns but Lord Ashcroft's recent research revealed that the Conservative Party was losing more supporters to UKIP than to any other party (see item three). Lord Vinson, a close friend of Lord Pearson of Rannoch, is the latest leading Tory to consider defecting.