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MP 'warns openly pro-EU firms they will be punished'

A senior Conservative Eurosceptic has reportedly warned businesses that they will pay a "very dear economic and financial price" if they speak out in favour of Britain staying in the European Union.

John Redwood is a prominent Conservative Eurosceptic. Credit: Katie Collins/PA Archive

According to the Telegraph, former minister John Redwood told a fringe event at the Conservative Party Conference that firms should "keep out" of the debate and "not meddle in politics".

The newspaper quotes Redwood as saying: "If they don't understand that now they will find those of us organising the 'get out' campaign will then make life difficult for them by making sure that their customers, their employees and their shareholders who disagree with them - and there will be a lot who disagree with them - will be expressing their views very forcefully and will be destablising their corporate governance."

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Mirror faces police referral over Newmark 'sting'

A Conservative MP has said he will write the police over newspaper "entrapment" that led his Conservative colleague Brooks Newmark to resign from government.

Mark Pritchard had already confirmed he would be complaining to the new press regulator about the Sunday Mirror revelations, but has now questioned whether criminal law was also broken by the newspaper.

Brooks Newmark resigned as Minister for Civil Society after he sent suggestive pictures to a reporter posing as a young Conservative campaigner.

Osborne: Choice is between Cameron or Miliband

Conservative voters considering voting for Ukip face the reality of a choice between David Cameron or Ed Miliband, George Osborne has told Good Morning Britain.

The Chancellor said people may be looking for "easy answers" following the recent recession, but said the coalition's plan for the economy was working and would lure voters back.

MP to complain over Brooks Newmark 'entrapment'

A Conservative MP says he will complain to the newly-formed press regulator over the "entrapment" that led to his colleague's resignation as a government minister.

Brooks Newmark, a married father of five, resigned after becoming aware the revelations would be made public. Credit: PA

Brooks Newmark resigned as Minister for Civil Society after Sunday Mirror revelations that he had exchanged suggestive pictures with a reporter posing as a young Tory campaigner.

Following the story's publication, fellow MP Mark Pritchard said he would be referring the newspaper to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (Ipso).

Pritchard told the BBC: "It is in the public interest that their actions are fully investigated. This is the first real test as to whether the new body, Ipso, has any teeth."

Osborne: Boris Johnson 'is a Conservative star'

Boris Johnson is "a real Conservative star" who will be a welcome addition to the Tory team fighting the next general election, George Osborne has told Good Morning Britain.

Responding to polling indicating that the London mayor would be a more popular leader of the party than David Cameron, the Chancellor said: "We want the best team on the pitch. We want Boris as our striker on the pitch and that is what he is going to do under the leadership of David Cameron."

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MP: Mood at Tory party conference 'very positive'

The mood at the Conservative party conference is "very positive", as it gears up for its most high profile meeting before the next general election, an influential Tory MP said.

Nigel Evans told Good Morning Britain: "The mood of the Conservative party is that we can win that next general election. It's only a few months away but because of all the things that have happened - the turnaround in the economy and the very positive mood we have here."

Boris Johnson: 'You'd be utterly nuts to join Ukip'

Boris Johnson will represent the Conservatives in Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the next election. Credit: PA

London mayor Boris Johnson has issued an appeal to would-be Tory defectors urging them not to break ranks and join Ukip.

Writing in his weekly column in The Daily Telegraph, he said Conservative MPs would be "utterly nuts" to desert the party as they simply risked handing power to Labour at the next general election.

Mr Johnson said he thought reports that two or three more MPs were preparing to follow defector Mark Reckless and jump ship were "fanciful".

But he wrote: "Let me try to reason with any in my party, the folk who want to launch themselves headlong into the silage, because I genuinely think that they (if they indeed exist) must be utterly nuts.

"There are only two people who are in a position to take the keys to Downing Street next May, and they are David Cameron or Ed Miliband.

"If you really want to let this country sleepwalk into a Labour government, then that is your prerogative. You can close your eyes and let it happen. You kip if you want to; the rest of us are going to fight and win."

Party conference overshadowed by internal problems

The difficult start to the Tory conference has led some observers to compare it to the dying days of John Major's ill-fated government in the mid-1990s.

The resignation of minister Brooks Newmark after a sting by a Sunday newspaper, coupled with the defection of Mark Reckless to Ukip, have meant new policies such as reducing the welfare cap have been largely overshadowed.

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports from Birmingham.

Tories find Reckless defection hard to swallow

Tories gathering in Birmingham have reacted angrily to the defection of Mark Reckless to Ukip.

Party chairman Grant Shapps said Mr Reckless had "let down" the party and "repeatedly lied to his constituents".

One activist told ITV News the Rochester and Stroud MP had "betrayed" the party by walking away.

ITV News Political Correspondent Carl Dinnen reports.

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