A local UKIP chairman has said he has talked to Kettering MP Philip Hollobone to invite him to join the party.
Kettering councillor Jonathan Bullock, who himself defected to UKIP from the Conservatives last year, said he spoke to Mr Hollobone – who favours UK withdrawal from the EU – about the possibility of a defection following the county council elections this month.
Cllr Bullock said: “It is clear that Philip agrees 100 per cent with UKIP policies and I invited him to think about joining us.
“The recent news that a senior Conservative has described his own members as ‘swivel-eyed loons’ has caused more former Conservatives to join UKIP and I hope Philip considers making the move.
“It is clear that the Conservative Party nationally will not entertain a formal pact (with UKIP) and I think it is make your mind up time for decent, hard-working, traditional MPs like Philip.”
UKIP actively campaigned for Mr Hollobone at the 2010 election, and the MP said he hoped a deal could be reached next time. But he added he would remain a Tory member.
“I was delighted at the last election that not only did UKIP not stand against me, they supported me,” Mr Hollobone said. “I very much hope when it comes to the next election they will support me.
“On the issue of Europe we agree. We are singing off the same hymn sheet. I am a member of the cross-party Better Off Out group of MPs and peers which is campaigning on this issue, so I am working with UKIP in Parliament.
“It’s important Kettering is represented by an MP who who will campaign to leave the EU.
“The tragedy of all this would be that were UKIP to stand it would increase the chances of a Labour MP being elected (and supporting the EU).”