Tory MP rejects Ukip's £10,000 election bet

Rosie Vare
POLITICS Tory Jenkin
POLITICS Tory Jenkin

The Ukip candidate for Harwich and North Essex claims supporters have branded his Tory competitor a 'chicken' for not agreeing to a wager on the election.

Mark Hughes is representing the controversial party in the hotly-contested seat, while Bernard Jenkin (pictured above) will be standing for the Conservatives.

In an exclusive story, the Express revealed that Hughes has said that Jenkin "showed absolute arrogance" after he stated in a hustings that Ukip wouldn't succeed in winning any seats in the area.

The coastal seat borders the Clacton constituency, which attracted plenty of media attention last year when Douglas Carswell defected from the Conservatives to Ukip and became the first elected Member of Parliament for Nigel Farage's party.

Hughes, who promises protection of the green belt, transport improvements and control of borders in his manifesto, told the Express: "I like Bernard on a personal level but it was the sheer arrogance that we had a meeting with 250 people and he was so dismissive to a party that won the neighbouring seat, won two county councillors in the 2013 election and won an MEP. It smacked of absolute arrogance."

"I thought, Bernard, you deserve a metaphoric slap."

"The bet would be for charity, either for Harwich RNLI or a fisherman's charity, as fishermen in Harwich have been badly affected by our membership in Europe."

Bernard Jenkin is the current MP for the Harwich and North Essex seat and has been since 1997 when Tony Blair was prime minister.

Among other points, Jenkin's manifesto states that he wants to secure a wind port in Harwich, protect the beauty of 'Constable Country' and support the fishing and oyster industries in the area.

He weighed in on the debate saying of Hughes: "I think he's smoking dope metaphorically if he thinks he can beat me in Harwich.

Saying that it was impossible for the Conservatives not to win the seat on May 7, he added: "Ukip are deluding themselves if they think they will win lots of seats."

Richard Desmond, the owner of the Daily Express, announced on Friday that he would pledge £1.3 million to Ukip in support of their general election bid.

Farage's party is in the running for 10 seats in the Houses of Parliament, campaigning for three constituencies in Essex, two in Kent, two in Lincolnshire and one in the West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Cornwall.

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