Is Mark Reckless about to become UKIP’s second elected MP?
Voters are heading to the polls in the Rochester and Strood by-election, where UKIP’s Mark Reckless hopes to become the party’s second elected MP.
Mr Reckless, widely seen as the favorite to win, defected from the Conservatives to UKIP in September, having been elected to Parliament in May 2010.
He announced his defection at UKIP’s autumn conference, following in the footsteps of former Tory Douglas Carswell, who became UKIP’s first elected MP in October.
Mr Carswell retained his Clacton seat with an increased majority.
The victory coincided with UKIP leader Nigel Farage making one of his most offensive statements of the year, declaring that migrants living with HIV should be banned from entering Britain.
Unlike Mr Carswell, who described it as “arrogant”, Mark Reckless voted in favour of same-sex marriage last year, a position that puts him at odds with many of his UKIP colleagues.
Nigel Farage has continued to oppose the reform – despite briefly suggesting in a PinkNews Q&A this summer that his position had changed.
The UKIP leader has pinned his opposition on the fear that the European Court of Human Rights could prosecute registrars and churches for refusing to marry same-sex couples.
The UK Government, human rights groups and lawyers have repeatedly rejected such claims, pointing to the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act’s “triple lock” safeguards.
Here is a full list of candidates standing in the Rochester and Strood by-election:-
Barker, Mike – Independent
Challis, Christopher – Independent
Davidson, Hairy Knorm – Official Monster Raving Loony Party
Fransen, Jayda – Britain First
Goldsbrough, Stephen William – Independent
Gregory, Clive – Green Party
Juby, Geoff – Liberal Democrats
Khan, Naushabah – Labour
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Long, Nick – People Before Profit
Osborn, Dave – Patriotic Socialist Party
Reckless, Mark – UK Independence Party
Rose, Charlotte – Independent
Tolhurst, Kelly – Conservative
More: anti-gay marriage, anti-gay views, anti-same-sex marriage, candidate, Conservative Party, election, England, equal marriage, Gay rights, homophobic views, LGBT rights, Mark Reckless, Nigel Farage, tories, UKIP, UKIP leader Nigel Farage