Norfolk Euro MP hits out at defection of Ukip colleague

A Norfolk Euro MP Stuart Agnew today hit back at the decision of a fellow UK Independence MEP to defect to the Conservatives.

David Campbell Bannerman has defected to the Tories two years after being elected under the colours of the United Kingdom Independence Party and also after losing out on a bid to become the party leader.

The switch means that the Conservatives now have four of the region's seven seats in the European Parliament, and Ukip is reduced to one - which is held by Norfolk farmer Stuart Agnew. The Liberal Democrats and Labour also hold one seat each.

Mr Agnew accused Mr Campbell Bannerman of being a career politician and said he should resign his seat.

'I am disappointed but not surprised by the announcement of David Campbell Bannerman's defection,' Mr Agnew said. 'As usual, he has shown a great lack of judgment and put his own interests ahead of those of Ukip.

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'David is a career politician who is only interested in self-promotion rather than having any real belief in what UKIP is fighting for. Having been elected on a platform of withdrawal under the Ukip banner, he has now joined a party that is committed to continued membership of the EU. It is also a party that has let the country down on the Lisbon Treaty referendum, on votes for prisoners and on regulation of the city. By any fair test, he has betrayed the electors who voted for him and he should resign his seat.'

In quitting Ukip Mr Campbell Bannerman, whose defection was welcomed by foreign secretary William Hague, said he had grown tired of the internal bickering within the party, while he had been impressed by the robust stance taken by David Cameron and Conservative MEPs over the EU budget negotiations.

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'In contrast, as a member of Ukip I witnessed too many colleagues obsess with single issue politics, internal fighting, and shouting from the sidelines. This behaviour does nothing to serve the best interests of the British people,' he said.

Labour's MEP for the region, Richard Howitt, said that the defection meant that the prime minister was 'leading the same old Tories', and that 'the eastern region will have a Conservative that people didn't vote for'.

He said it also showed, that 'Ukip is in disarray'.

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