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Defector Reckless wins seat for Ukip

Tory defector Mark Reckless became the right-wing UK Independence Party’s second elected MP yesterday after he topped the poll in the Rochester and Strood by-election.

Mr Reckless, one of two Tories to defect to Ukip, regained his Kent seat with a majority of 2,920 — a far narrower margin than the party had predicted.

However the result was a further blow to the Tories and Prime Minister David Cameron in particular, who visited the constituency five times during the course of the campaign.

The party originally vowed to “throw the kitchen sink” at the campaign to halt the Ukip bandwagon, but in recent weeks they had been playing down expectations as the polls consistently pointed to a Ukip victory.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he would be “very surprised” if the result did not trigger further Tory defections in the run-up to the general election next year.

The result was the second significant defeat for the Tories at the hands of Ukip following the victory of Mr Reckless’s fellow defector Douglas Carswell in Clacton.

Mr Cameron vowed to win back the seat, claiming that “anything other than a Conservative government will put our recovery at risk and Ed Miliband in Downing Street.”

Labour came third in the poll, but it was yet another humiliating result for the Lib Dems, who finished fifth behind the Greens with just 349 votes — losing their deposit.

Shadow foreign secretary and head of Labour’s election strategy Douglas Alexander acknowledged that the party needed to address the “undoubted anger and sense of alienation” among voters.

Commenting on the result, Hope not Hate spokesman Simon Cressy told the Star that while it was a concern that Ukip now had two MPs, claims of mass support for the party were misleading.

He said the fact that, as with Mr Carswell before him, Mr Reckless was the incumbent had been a factor and that come the general election in May Ukip could well lose the seat again.

But he had a stark warning for the three mainstream parties, who he said bore a large amount of responsibility for the current situation.

“The mainstream parties need to stop trying to replicate what Ukip is doing,” he said. 

“What the public want is for politicians and parties to have principles and stick to them, not trying to mirror Ukip.”


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