Mark Reckless, the ex-Conservative MP that defected to Ukip on Saturday, looked to have cancelled a planned walkabout to celebrate his move with leader Nigel Farage after a negative reaction in his Rochester constituency.
Far from the near-hero’s welcome that met Clacton’s Douglas Carswell when he defected at the end of August, Reckless was subjected to tough questions from his constituents in Rochester in Kent. Old colleagues from the Tory party were also waiting at the pub that Farage and Reckless had planned to begin their walkabout from, ready to take on the ex-Conservative MP.
After a photo opportunity with both men sitting down to have a drink, they had a private conversation, according to Sky News. Soon after, they each left, with Farage exiting in a car and Reckless escaping through a side door.
Reckless claimed that the two men had instead done a planned walkabout before the photo call in the pub, but Sky reported that another event had been scheduled to follow the pub meeting.
Reckless defected to Ukip on Saturday, at the latter party’s conference in Doncaster. The news hit just as preparations were being made for the beginning of the Conservative conference, which began on Sunday and is being held in Birmingham.
Senior Tory ex-colleagues criticised Reckless’s move on Sunday. David Cameron branded the decision “senseless and counter-productive”.
In pictures: The rise of Ukip
In pictures: The rise of Ukip
1/8 1993: Alan Sked forms Ukip
History professor Alan Sked had been active in anti-EU politics for a while beore he founded Ukip in 1993. He resigned from the party after the 1997 election, concerned that it was attracting far-right members, and has been critical of Ukip since. Picture: Reuters
2/8 2005: Kilroy defects
Former TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk founded Veritas in 2005, after a failed bid to become leader, and took many of Ukip's elected members with him. But the party slowly lost its popularity and didn't put forward any candidates in the last election. Picture: REUTERS/Kieran Doherty REUTERS KD/RUS
3/8 2010: Farage becomes leader, again
Farage had led Ukip from 2006 until 2009, when he stood down to fight against the Speaker, John Bercow, for his Buckingham seat. He failed to win the election and returned to lead the party in November 2010. Picture: REUTERS/Kieran Doherty
4/8 2010: Ukip fights for election
Nigel Farage was injured in a plane crash on polling day in the 2010 general election, but his party increased its success in the votes. It fielded 572 candidates and took 3.1% of the vote, though failed to win any seats. REUTERS/Darren Staples
5/8 2013: Eastleigh gains
Ukip's candidate Diane James got the highest ever number of votes for any candidate from the party, but was beaten by the Liberal Democrats. The surge in support gave Ukip confidence ahead of local and European elections later in the year. Picture: Reuters
6/8 2013: Bloom kicked out
Godfrey Bloom, who served as an Ukip MEP from 2004 to 2014, had the whip withdrawn in 2013 after sexist comments and an attack on a journalist. He sat as an independent MEP until 2014, when he ended his term in office. Picture: REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
7/8 2014: European election success
Ukip got a higher proportion of the vote than any other party in 2014's European elections, adding 11 new MEPs and taking its total to 24. REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
8/8 2014: Carswell defects
Douglas Carswell defected from Ukip at the end of August, and was followed by Mark Reckless at the end of September, who resigned from the Tories amid rumours of many more defections to come. Picture: REUTERS/Toby Melville
In a passionate speech on the first day of the party conference, party chairman Grant Shapps said that Reckless was a liar.
“We have been let down by somebody who has repeatedly lied to his constituents, and to you,” said Shapps. “Who said one thing, and then did another.”Reuse content