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Tory MPs 'prepare to defy Cameron over EU vote'

As many as 100 Tory MPs could be preparing to defy the party leadership by making a personal pledge to vote for a British exit from the EU in an in/out referendum.

The Independent reports that the eurosceptics are prepared to promise to vote 'No' to EU membership regardless of what concessions David Cameron can win from Brussels.

The Prime Minister has pledged to renegotiate the terms of British membership and then give the British people an in/out referendum in 2017.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said a by-election win for his party in Clacton would signal a "landslide in British politics" as an opinion poll indicated that the Tories would face a humiliating defeat in the contest triggered by Douglas Carswell's shock defection.

Mr Farage, who said the party was "testing the waters" with other potential turncoats - including from Labour - predicted Ukip could hold the balance of power in Parliament.

A Survation poll for the Mail on Sunday gave Ukip a massive 44 point lead over David Cameron's party and Mr Farage predicted that a win would result in "more and more people coming over to us".

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UKIP leaders pass over election candidate for Carswell

A disgruntled UKIP candidate has spoken out after party leaders passed over him to back defected Tory MP Douglas Carswell instead.

Mr Carswell, the MP for Clacton, sparked a by-election after defecting from the Tories to UKIP.

And despite already selecting Roger Lord to fight the seat in next year's General Election, UKIP has announced it will be backing Mr Carswell in the pending by-election.

UKIP have backed Douglas Carswell as a candidate in the by-election Credit: PA

Speaking to BBC Essex, he said:

It is an enormous discourtesy, for anybody really, just to announce that and say that.

I think the last time I saw him, I said I would be prepared to give him a reference come next May if he found himself unemployed, which I am pretty sure he would be.

Perhaps he is jumping ship to try and get in front of all the other Conservative MPs who are going to find themselves in the unemployment queue come next May.

– Roger Lord, UKIP election candidate

A UKIP spokeswoman said by-election candidates were selected differently to General Election candidates, and said she hoped he would "understand" the decision.

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