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New Ukip recruit Douglas Carswell appears with Nigel Farage in Clacton

Ukip leader Nigel Farage and his new recruit Douglas Carswell are in Clacton as the pair plan a completely unexpected by-election campaign.

They are visiting the seat after Mr Carswell's bombshell decision to switch parties and quit the Commons to re-stand under the Ukip banner.

Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage in Clacton
Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage in Clacton Credit: ITV Anglia

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Watch: MP Douglas Carswell: 'I think this country needs fundamental political reform'

The rebel Conservative MP Douglas Carswell delivered a double blow to his party today - a shock defection to Ukip and he has forced a by-election in Essex which many believe the Tories are likely to lose.

The deeply Euro-sceptic Mr Carswell, who is the MP for Clacton, was unveiled as Ukip's newest recruit in a press conference in London. He said he was defecting from the Tories because Mr Cameron was not serious enough about the change needed in Britain's relationship with Europe.

He will resign as an MP when Parliament returns next week, forcing a by-election which could see him returned as Ukip's first ever elected member of parliament.

Click below to watch a full interview with MP Douglas Carswell:

Read: Carswell: 'Tories aren't serious about change UK needs'

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Hague: Carswell defection 'totally counter-productive'

William Hague has said Douglas Carswell's decision to defect to Ukip is "totally counter-productive" because only the Conservatives can offer the public a choice on EU membership.

The Leader of the Commons said: "It's a totally counterproductive thing to do, of course, because the only chance of real change in Europe, the only chance of having a referendum where people can decide to say in the EU or leave the EU is having a Conservative government."

William Hague said only the Tories could offer voters a choice on EU membership.
William Hague said only the Tories could offer voters a choice on EU membership.

Backbench Tory MP Mark Pritchard agreed with Mr Hague, saying Mr Carswell had made an "error of judgment" that would end up helping Labour in the 2015 general election.

Read: Carswell plans Westminster 'shake up' after defection

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Carswell plans Westminster 'shake up' after defection

Defecting Conservative MP Douglas Carswell says he want to "shake up" the Westminster "clique" with his move to Ukip.

Carswell said the Conservatives' failure to take a stand against the European Union was at the heart of his decision.

ITV News Political Correspondent Libby Wiener reports:

National

Miliband: Carswell defection shows 'divided' Tories

Ed Miliband has tweeted that Douglas Carswell's defection show the Conservatives are "too divided to stand up for hard-working families".

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Douglas Carswell’s defection is not just a blow to David Cameron. It shows the Tory Party too divided to stand up for hard-working families

Read: Carswell: 'Tories aren't serious about change UK needs'

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