Yeo’s departure from Labour: it’s not just Tories supporting UKIP

Farage at European Council Summit

Labour’s former National Executive Committee chairperson, Harriet Yeo, is backing UKIP in May. UKIP are gaining Labour support.

In her article for the Telegraph, entitled ‘Why I dumped Miliband's Labour for Ukip’, she explained her reasons for her newfound support.

From her first paragraph it is clear that the major reason for this switch is on the issue of the EU. She wrote:

“Once in a generation there is a pivotal moment in a country’s history. I believe we have reached that moment. It is time to decide whether we remain in the EU. The only party I trust to offer us that choice is UKIP.”

In the article, she said she was renouncing her membership of Ed Miliband’s party, however, she made clear that her decision was not one against Ed Miliband, saying that:

“I should be clear that this is not a swipe at Ed Miliband. He is a principled leader for whom I have great respect. His view is that a referendum is not the right step for our country. I just see it differently. I have to follow my conscience.”

About the decision made by Yeo, UKIP's leader, Nigel Farage, tweeted:

“I'm delighted UKIP can now count upon the support of Harriet Yeo, former Labour National Executive Committee member”

Douglas Carswell, UKIP’s first elected MP also embraced the news, tweeting:

"Wonderful to have such a senior Labour figure endorsing Ukip. We are the party for real change"

Despite her move to support UKIP, according to the BBC, Yeo will not join the party.

Overall, UKIP does gain a lot of its support from former Tory voters, but the party has seen many Labour voters switch to Nigel Farage’s party. YouGov’s latest poll, for the Sun, suggests that 17% of those voting for UKIP are former Conservative voters, but it also indicates that 1 in 10 former Labour voters are now intending to vote for Nigel Farage’s party in May.

Many will call UKIP a party of ex-Tories, but Yeo’s support for them, whilst she is not joining them, highlights their appeal to others.

UKIP are still continuing to do well, just over two months until the general election. The best they can hope for is that they can keep up their support and ride on their wave of momentum in the lead up to May.

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