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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:

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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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Essex MP calls for more Conservative clarity on EU following Carswell defection

A Conservative MP in Essex is calling for more clarity on Europe from the Tory leadership following the defection of Clacton MP Douglas Carswell to UKIP.

John Baron, the MP for Basildon and Billericay said: "I'm sorry that Douglas is leaving us. Every MP must make their own decisions about these matters but I do think it will yet again focus the Conservative Party and indeed the country on getting our relations right with the EU."

Mr Baron said he would stay in the Conservative Party but he is calling for more clarity on which powers the party would like to repatriate if they win the next election.

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Local party: Carswell defection a 'bolt from the blue'

A senior Tory in Douglas Carswell's Clacton constituency has said news of his defection to Ukip has come as a "bolt from the blue".

Mick Page, the leader of Tendring District Council, which covers Clacton said: "That's come as a shock - a bolt from the blue."

Speaking to the Press Association he added: "We always thought he was a Conservative very much against Europe but we thought he would work within the party to achieve his aims. As far as I'm aware the Conservative association had no warning of this."

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

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