Pickles rules out UKIP pact
Eric Pickles has ruled out an electoral pact with UKIP as the eurosceptic party hits a new high in the polls.
On Sky News's Murnaghan, the Communities Secretary said he would fight UKIP in the general election and did not think an electoral pact would necessarily help his party.
“They do represent a voice, and I’m very firmly of the view that the only way you deal with them is to get dug in and to fight them on the ground on community issues," he said.
"I certainly don’t feel that we should have a pact with them, or that it can be always assumed – I think this is absolutely wrong – always assumed that some kind of deal could be done and people would flood back to us."
Last night UKIP hit an unprecedented 14% support amongst the public according to two polls.
The surveys by Opinium and ComRes put the party ahead of the Lib Dems, who polled fourth with 8% or 9% of support respectively. A YouGov poll for the Sunday Times has the party on 8%, however.
Nigel Farage said it was now "crystal clear" UKIP was now the third party in Britain.
"We have never claimed to be at the centre of received opinion in the Westminster bubble, but in the country at large people are beginning to look at what we stand for and what we have to say and are realising that it is UKIP that represents the centre ground of mainstream public opinion," he said in a statement.
The Observer reports UKIP is facing criticism for alleged links to foreign parties with views hostile to homosexuality.