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Saturday 20th September 2014
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Two Tory MPs 'Seriously Considering' Defecting

Friday, 29th August 2014 10:39

UKIP donor Stuart Wheeler has told Sky News that two more Tory MPs are "seriously considering" defecting to the party.

The former Conservative Party major donor said he invited 10 Eurosceptic MPs to lunch at the now-closed Serafino restaurant, with the knowledge of UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Eight of those asked said yes, while two refused.

He added that none of those he met wanted to do anything before the European elections, but UKIP success had changed confidence levels.

He said that if Douglas Carswell does well in the by-election in his Clacton seat, the success would also encourage others considering defecting.

He told Sky News: "I asked them all about their views, but I didn't say 'will you defect', I would say 'would you like to meet Nigel Farage'.

"Some of them said yes, and obviously Douglas Carswell was one, and he's the only name I can give you.

"It's a very big dilemma. There's nothing more pathetic than an MP who has lost his seat. Certainly, two years ago if you defected to UKIP you were almost certain that you lost your seat.

"Now in this case, Douglas Carswell is highly distinguished with a decent majority of highly loyal supporters who are loyal to him at least as much to the Conservative Party I think.

"And so it's my opinion that he will win and if he does then obviously other Conservative MPs who are on the brink will be encouraged to defect as well. I don't say they will, but they will be tempted."

A senior UKIP source also told the BBC that the party had also been in contact with around eight Labour MPs.

Mr Carswell triggered the by-election after announcing his decision to quit the Conservative party for UKIP on Thursday.

Mr Farage told Sky News that other MPs, from the Conservatives and Labour, were "considering their options".