Two high-profile resignations aren't the best way to start a party conference — and Conservative activists had even less to smile about when they woke up to a Sunday newspaper proclaiming a 'Tory crisis' that was distributed among attendees.
The Telegraph, which gives out free copies at the Conservative conference, splashed the resignations of Mark Reckless and Brooks Newmark across its front page as the conference began in Birmingham on Sunday.
Paper bin at the Conservative conference pic.twitter.com/vHJpG9wKLE— AndrewSparrow (@AndrewSparrow) September 28, 2014
David Cameron appeared on The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning and downplayed suggestions of a crisis in the party. He said that Reckless's defection was "counter-productive and rather senseless", and disagreed with claims that he is not a proper Conservative.
The two resignations also led almost every other Sunday newspaper.
Mark Reckless and Brooks Newmark both resigned on Saturday, as last preparations for the conference were being made.
Reckless became the second Tory MP in recent weeks to defect to Ukip, following the footsteps of Clacton MP Douglas Carswell.
Hours later, Reckless announced his resignation, after he was reportedly caught by a Sunday tabloid sending explicit photographs of himself to reporters posing as users of a social media website.
On Sunday, reports suggested that further defections could be possible, with Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan and MP Nadine Dorries mentioned as possibly the next likely high-profile Tories to move to Ukip.