Grant Shapps: Conservatives 'rule out' UKIP pact

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The prime minister's election adviser, Michael Fabricant, has urged him to consider a pact with the UK Independence Party, claiming UKIP is costing the Conservatives votes in crucial marginal constituencies.

Mr Fabricant said an electoral pact with UKIP - in which the Tories would promise a referendum on European Union membership after 2015 and in return UKIP would not stand against Tory candidates - could help the Conservatives win an extra 20-40 seats at the next election.

But Grant Shapps, Conservative Party Chairman, told The World At One: "I can categorically rule out any form of electoral pact with UKIP or anyone else."

"We do need a reformed relationship with Europe, and that's exactly what we're proposing."

Stewart Jackson, who stepped down from his post as a parliamentary private secretary after defying a three-line whip to vote for a referendum on Europe, said: "We need to strike out as a political party rather than a partner in the coalition and say to people that an 'in/out' referendum on polling day would be the best way forward."

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