Could Ukip leader Paul Nuttall win the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election?
The MEP recently won the Ukip leadership contest and now has his sights fixed on winning the by-election in the traditional Labour stronghold.
Ukip are the second favourite to win the Stoke-on-Trent Central seat and are close behind Labour with less than three weeks to go until the by-election.
Voters are among some of the the most Eurosceptic in the UK, with nearly 70 per cent of voters in Stoke-on-Trent backing Brexit during the EU referendum.
The by-election will be a test of whether Labour’s disunity over Brexit and Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership will harm the party at the ballot box.
Mr Nuttall told Express.co.uk that victory in Stoke-on-Trent Central would "open up a can of worms" for Labour as other seats "could fall like dominoes" to Ukip.
Labour has held on to the seat since its creation in 1950 but its majority has dropped from nearly 20,000 a decade ago to just 5,000 in 2015.
A Paddy Power spokesman said: “We price UKIP at even money to win the Stoke-on-Trent by-election which, in English, means they’re a 50-50 shot.
“They’re behind Labour in the betting, but only just – and they’re certainly popular with our punters.
“It looks like being a by-election that’ll come down to the wire, and I really wouldn’t be surprised to see UKIP take the seat.”
The by-election has been triggered by the resignation of Labour’s former shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt in January.
Mr Hunt is taking over as the director of the Victoria and Albert Museum, leaving Labour with a tough contest at a time when it is deeply divided.
Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall were egged on the campaign trail in Stoke-on-Trent
The divisions in the Labour Party were clearly seen when 47 pro-EU MPs rebelled against Mr Corbyn’s order to back the Brexit bill last week.
In Stoke, the young Labour candidate Gareth Snell voted to Remain in the EU referendum but has confirmed that he will not “frustrate the triggering of Article 50”.
The Tories held on to the Sleaford and North Hykeham seat during a by-election in December despite most of the population voting to leave the EU.
This by-election posed a stark contrast to another by-election in Richmond Park where a vast majority of people voted Remain in the referendum.
The pro-EU Liberal Democrat candidate Sarah Olney won the by-election after promising to vote against Article 50 – the step that kicks off Brexit talks.
What are the latest odds for the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election?
- Labour: 5/6
- Ukip: Evens
- Liberal Democrats: 33/1
- Conservatives: 35/1
- Green Party: 250/1
When is the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election 2017?
Voters will go to the polls on Thursday February 23 2017 in Stoke-on-Trent Central.
Polls will open at 7am and close at 10pm on the day of the by-election later this month.
Nigel Farage in pictures
Thu, December 15, 2016
Nigel Farage is a British politician who has been the leader of the UK Independence Party since October 2016.
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British politician Nigel Farage arrives at Trump Tower on December 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.
Who are the candidates in the Stoke-on-Trent by-election?
- Gareth Snell – Labour
- Paul Nuttall – UKIP
- Zulfiqar Ali – Liberal Democrats
- Jack Brereton – Conservatives
- Adam Colclough – Green Party
- Mohammed Yaqub Akram – Independent
- The Incredible Flying Brick – Official Monster Raving Loony Party
- Godfrey Davies – Christian Peoples Alliance
- Barbara Fielding – Independent
- David Furness – British National Party Local People First