Blow for British PM as second MP defects to UKIP

British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a blow today as Mark Reckless defected to UKIP, the second Conservative backbencher to join the euro sceptic party in two months.

AFP| Updated: Sep 27, 2014, 23:49 PM IST

Doncaster: British Prime Minister David Cameron suffered a blow today as Mark Reckless defected to UKIP, the second Conservative backbencher to join the euro sceptic party in two months.

The lawmaker's announcement was greeted with rapture at the populist United Kingdom Independence Party's (UKIP) annual conference, where delegates jumped out of their seats cheering the switch.

The defection comes just one month after fellow Conservative backbencher Douglas Carswell also left Cameron's centre-right party for the anti-European Union, anti-immigration UKIP.

"The leadership of the Conservative Party is part of the problem that is holding our country back," said Reckless, saying they were breaking their election pledges.

"Today I am leaving the Conservative Party and joining UKIP," said the 43-year-old, sparking jubilation at the conference in Doncaster, northern England.

"We all know the problem of British politics. People feel disconnected from Westminster. But disconnected is too mild a word. People feel ignored, taken for granted, over-taxed, over-regulated, ripped off and lied to," Reckless added.

Reckless entered parliament at the last general election in 2010, representing Rochester and Strood, in Kent, southeast England, taking 49 percent of the vote.

He said he had not been able to keep his election promises while remaining in the Conservative ranks.

Reckless said he had pledged to slash immigration, cut the budget deficit so as to reduce taxes, decentralise power, introduce more accountable politics and to help get Britain out of the EU.

"I've found that it is impossible to keep those promises as a Conservative, and that is why I am joining UKIP," he said.

Carswell resigned his seat on joining UKIP and will fight a by-election on October 9. Reckless said he would likewise re-contest his seat.