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The Tories Are Deploying Sol Campbell In The Fight Against Nigel Farage

The former England footballer is being lined up to help the Conservatives campaign in South Thanet, BuzzFeed News understands.

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Sol Campbell is set to help the Tories fight UKIP leader Nigel Farage in South Thanet.

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The former England and Arsenal defender is being lined up for a major campaign day in the seaside seat this Saturday, Conservative sources told BuzzFeed News.

Tory officials hope the former footballer, an opponent of the mansion tax, will help win over voters toying with voting UKIP in May's general election. With just five weeks to go, the Conservative party is stepping up its campaign in South Thanet in a desperate bid to stop Farage becoming an MP.

Farage has promised to stand down as UKIP leader if he fails to win the seat – which has made the Conservatives even more anxious to get their candidate, Craig Mackinlay, across the line.

Tory supporters are being asked to meet at St Pancras station in London on Saturday morning before heading out to the Kent constituency. Exact details of Campbell's contribution are yet to be confirmed. It is not clear whether he will simply give a "pep talk" to activists at the station or go to the constituency himself.

The action day is part of the Conservatives' "Super Saturday", which will see activists campaigning in marginal seats across the country.

"This is a straight fight between us and UKIP," one Tory in South Thanet told BuzzFeed News.

Campbell, who retired from football in 2011, was last year snapped having lunch with Tory party chair Grant Shapps. Last month Campbell ended speculation that he would run as a Tory MP in the safe seat of Kensington – but he has not ruled out a bid to become London mayor.

A Conservative spokesperson declined to comment.

Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Emily Ashton at emily.ashton@buzzfeed.com.

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