Ribble Valley MP Nigel Evans has spoken out against the defection of Douglas Carswell MP from the Conservative Party to the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Announcing his decision to quit the Tories and join UKIP, Mr Carswell said it was his intention to simultaneously resign his seat in Parliament and stand in the subsequent by-election in Clapton as the UKIP candidate.
Speaking from Westminster shortly after the announcement Conservative Mr Evans said: “I count Douglas as a friend and I share many of the sentiments he raised in his speech. However, causing an unnecessary by-election will not deliver on his wishes, particularly on giving the British people the referendum on our continued membership of the European Union, which we desperately need.
“The only way for this to happen is to elect a Conservative Government in the 2015 General Election, as every vote for UKIP helps the Labour Party and Ed Miliband get into Downing Street, who will not give us our referendum. I am also firmly of the belief that real reform in our relationship with the EU is possible and that it is necessary to undertake this and give the British people a real choice in the referendum, rather than offer an exit or the status quo.”