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Tory whips were anxiously ringing round the “usual suspects” following Douglas Carswell's defection to Ukip

Tories fear Douglas Carswell’s Ukip defection may be first of many

Senior Conservatives fear that more of their MPs will defect to Ukip after Douglas Carswell stunned Westminster by jumping ship to Nigel Farage’s anti-EU party.

Former Tory MP Douglas Carswell (right) has joined Ukip but this won't stop the existing Ukip candidate for Clacton, Roger Lord, from challenging the ex-MP for the right to represent the party in the forthcoming by-election

Douglas Carswell defection: Clacton’s existing Ukip candidate vows to fight on regardless

While the defection of Clacton’s Tory MP was being celebrated by Ukip’s leadership in London today, there were some back in the seaside town who were less enthusiastic.

Net migration jumped to 243,000 in the year to March

Net migration jumps by nearly a quarter of a million

Tories' efforts to reduce migration thwarted

UKIP leader Nigel Farage (left) with former Conservative MP Douglas Carswell

Douglas Carswell defection: Eurosceptic ex-Tory MP fires parting shot at Cameron

The Conservatives were plunged into turmoil over Europe today when Douglas Carswell, one of their Eurosceptic MPs, dramatically defected to Ukip.

'This has become, I'm afraid, just another managerialist, post-war administration' says Douglas Carswell

Ukip Douglas Carswell defection: Tory MP jumps ship to join Nigel Farage

Clacton MP has often rebelled from Conservative Party on European issues

UK immigration numbers up by 68,000 in a year, despite David Cameron's pledge to cut migration levels by the next general election

Mr Cameron and Home Secretary Theresa May are still aiming to reduce the figure to 'tens of thousands' by the general election next May

Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found

Old boy's club still dominates public life, according to major new report

A “cosy club” of people educated at private schools and Oxbridge still dominates politics, the judiciary and media, and locks out talented people from more modest backgrounds, according to Government advisers.

The Houses of Parliament, Westminster, London. Women account for only 23 per cent of MPs

Women underrepresented at all levels in British politics

Britain is lagging behind Equatorial Guinea, Madagascar and Kyrgyzstan in its efforts to increase the number of women in politics, a damning report reveals today.

EXCLUSIVE: Overcharging by outsourcing giant Serco costs NHS millions

Outsourcing giant Serco is embroiled in a fresh misuse of public funds scandal after a company it set up overcharged NHS hospitals millions of pounds, The Independent can reveal.

Gerald Howarth

Tory MP Gerald Howarth says Enoch Powell 'was right' in notorious Rivers of Blood speech

Former defence minister says arrival of so many non-Christians has 'presented a challenge'

Authorities failing in hunt for 'most wanted' tax dodgers who owe HMRC £844m

Campaign that publicly identified those sought has seen results, but many have fled abroad

The LMA estimate an extra 130,000 primary places will be needed by 2017/18

Schools forced into desperate measures to deal with £1bn budget black hole

A school has been forced to turn a roof into a playground as councils take desperate measures to cope with a £1bn-plus black hole in their education budgets, local authority leaders warn today.

John Bercow is facing a revolt over his decision to appoint Carol Mills

John Bercow's bid to appoint Australian to top Commons job goes off the rails

The crisis over Commons Speaker John Bercow’s choice for a top parliamentary job has deepened after both Downing Street and the current incumbent raised doubts over his handling of the selection.

Alex Salmond at Ferguson Shipbuilders with union and yard officials

Scottish independence: Alex Salmond celebrates fightback but still faces upstream battle towards referendum

First Minister must tackle five issues to ensure Scotland votes Yes

Nigel Farage arrives for a hustings event at The Oddfellows Hall in Ramsgate on Tuesday
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The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
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Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
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Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
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One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
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environmentCrop pests are 'grave threat to global food security'
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Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
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Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
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Orson Welles made Citizen Kane at 25, and battled with Hollywood film studios thereafter
people
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Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
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footballAnd Liverpool are happy despite drawing European champions
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
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Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone