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Nigel Farage almost certain to stand in Thanet South

By Paul Francis

UKIP leader Nigel Farage is almost certain to stand in Thanet South in the general election - despite efforts to keep it under wraps.

The local UKIP association had been expected to identify who was on its shortlist today.

But that was put on hold at the eleventh hour and the association said it was now planning to release the details on the day the selection meeting takes place at the end of August.

Nigel Farage was the favourite to win the Ukip nomination. Picture: Tony Flashman
Nigel Farage was the favourite to win the Ukip nomination. Picture: Tony Flashman

However, party insiders have failed to dampen down reports that Mr Farage is in the mix.

A UKIP spokesman said: "There is no shortlist yet and they haven't received all the nominations - the details will be released on the day of the selection. Nigel Farage is not in the country."

Mr Farage would be odds-on favourite to secure the nomination and it would be highly unlikely that party members would opt for another candidate.

According to the Financal Times, local party secretary Rozanne Duncan said: “It is the worst-kept secret in town...we now have two names on the list and one of them is Mr Farage. Whether he will get selected or not is another matter . . . although I’d be surprised if he doesn’t.”

It is understood the constituency association received late applications from several members and will now have to draw up a shortlist for the final hustings meeting on August 26.

The names of those on the shortlist will be disclosed on the morning of that meeting.

Mr Farage has dropped a succession of hints he may put his name forward for the Conservative-held seat, recently disclosing in an interview that it was a “distinct possibility.”

With a recent poll suggesting UKIP could make its parliamentary breakthrough in the constituency, Mr Farage would be an obvious favourite but would still need to go through the selection process for a seat he contested in 2005.

He is on record as saying that Thanet South is one of several seats he is weighing up, including Folkestone and Hythe.

UKIP would expect to pour resources into the contest if Mr Farage was selected.

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