Two Tory peers defect to UKIP

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Indy Politics

The UK Independence Party will gain its first foothold in the House of Lords today after two former Conservative peers defected to the Eurosceptic party.

Lord Pearson and Lord Willoughby de Broke will formally announce that they are joining UKIP this morning, declaring they have "given up hope" on the Tories.

Lord Pearson, chairman of PWS insurance brokers, said he was concerned by David Cameron's softening stance on Europe. "We've given up hope that under its present leadership the Conservative Party will be appropriately Eurosceptic by the next election," he told The Times.

The two peers, who had the Conservative whip withdrawn in 2004 after urging voters to support UKIP, say they plan to persuade major Conservative donors to change allegiance.

Nigel Farage, leader of UKIP, said: "To have a foothold in Westminster will make quite a difference. It means we have a voice inside the Westminster village, which has been badly needed. It will also help us raise money."