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Last Updated: Friday, 4 June, 2004, 16:08 GMT 17:08 UK
Disgraced Tory Aitken backs UKIP
Jonathan Aitken
Mr Aitken has endorsed UKIP
Ex-Tory Jonathan Aitken has given his backing to the UK Independence Party just four months after being blocked as a Conservative candidate.

Mr Aitken was jailed for 18 months in June 1999 for perjury and perverting the course of justice.

News of his backing for UKIP comes on the same day they got an endorsement from ex-cricketer Geoff Boycott.

Celebrities backing parties has been a feature of campaigning ahead of local, European and London mayoral elections.

Mr Boycott, who played cricket for England, said he wanted to "stand up and be counted".

Ex-chatshow host

Mr Aitken meanwhile told the Isle of Thanet Gazette: "I have been impressed by the UKIP election campaign and I am convinced by their case for renegotiating Britain's future relationship with the EU.

"So I shall vote for UKIP in next week's Euro elections.

"Britain should go back to the original plan for a profitable common market relationship trading with the EU, as Norway and Switzerland do.

"Britain does not want or need a federal Europe, the Euro constitution and limitless eastern European immigration."

Joan Collins has backed UKIP which favours UK withdrawal from the EU, while former chatshow host Robert Kilroy-Silk is the party's European election candidate in the East Midlands.

With elections due on 10 June, Labour has wheeled out celebrities in the form of Star Trek actor Patrick Stewart and ex-Eastenders actor Ross Kemp.

Howard's 'no way'

The Green Party meanwhile has had support from Pulp Fiction actor Tim Roth and Sixties model Twiggy.

The Tories are fighting back with support from F1 boss Eddie Jordan, top chef Marco Pierre White and ex-GMTV presenter Esther McVey.

The Lib Dems have comedians Sandy Toksvig, Barry Cryer and actor Edward Woodward.

Mr Aitken's plans for a comeback as a Conservative MP were blocked by party leader Michael Howard in February.

At the time, Mr Aitken said: "The leader has spoken. I accept his judgement with good grace." He confirmed he would not seek to return to Parliament.




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