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."
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.
More top news
Sunderland will not include winger Adam Johnson in their squad for their home game against Manchester United.
Lots of sunshine with the clear skies, but expect low temperatures
A survey has revealed most shoppers struggle to identify good supermarket offers, can you spot the best-value deals?