Following the defection of Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless, the Conservatives are desperate to find any others of their number who are planning to defect to UKIP, reports the Telegraph.

Conservatives hunt potential defectors

Downing Street has started a “witch hunt” to find Conservative MPs who might be “stupid enough” to defect to the UK Independence Party.

David Cameron will lead the campaign to “nail” the latest defector, Mark Reckless, the Tory MP who joined Ukip on the eve of the Conservative Party conference last weekend, senior sources have said.

The Independent concedes that the by-election is likely to be won by Carswell.

Clacton by-election: A bit early to celebrate, but there’s only one party

Like many residents of Clacton-on-Sea, labourer Garry Denham moved to the seaside town in search of a slower pace of life. He was also looking to “escape” a Britain he no longer recognises.

He arrived earlier this year, just in time to see the then local Conservative MP, Douglas Carswell, defect to Ukip and trigger a by-election that could see the Eurosceptic party gain its first elected representative in Westminster.

“I moved to Clacton from the East End of London because there it has become so overpopulated with Muslims that I don’t know it any more. Here, though, we still have England as it should be,” said Mr Denham, who will be voting for Ukip on Thursday. “There are lots of people like me here who moved to Clacton for that reason. I wouldn’t want to suggest we should eradicate everyone with brown skin, but this is our country.”

While Carswell is well on course to win the Clacton by-election, the Guardian reports that Reckless is likely to retake Rochester & Strood.

Ukip’s Mark Reckless on course to win Rochester byelection, poll finds

Tory defector Mark Reckless is on course to win back his Commons seat in a stunning victory for Ukip, according to an opinion poll.

Ukip enjoys a nine-point lead in Rochester and Strood, the latest research conducted by Survation for the Mail on Sunday found.

Today’s defection is …

The Telegraph has a piece by William Cash, son of Tory grandee Sir Bill Cash, explaining his defection to UKIP.

When Nigel Farage announced this week that he was appointing me as the heritage spokesman for Ukip, my father, Sir Bill Cash MP, was not at the Conservative Conference but in Rome, representing British parliamentary interests as chairman of the European Scrutiny Committee.

After being called in Italy with the news of my apparent betrayal of the Tory party, he said that he “completely disassociates” himself from me and my decision to join Ukip and possibly fight a seat in the general election. He said he was very “surprised” by the news, adding: “William has never taken any interest in politics or what I have been doing in the past 30 years”.

General Election 2015

The Tories are now leading in the polls, according to the Sunday Times, but this is partly down to Labour.

ED MILIBAND was accused of taking Labour “back to the 1970s” last night as a new poll confirmed the Tories had jumped into the lead in the race to win the next election.

MPs and peers rounded on the Labour leader as today’s YouGov poll for The Sunday Times put the Tories on 36%, two points ahead of Labour, with Ukip on 13% and the Lib Dems on 7%.

Lord Noon, one of the party’s biggest donors, led a chorus of criticism, branding Miliband’s plans for a mansion tax a “hopeless and desperate idea”. He said: “The mansion tax is going back to the 1970s.”

The Mirror quotes Ed Balls’ blog in which he suggests that working families will be considerably worse off if the Tories win the election.

George Osborne’s huge cuts will leave working families more than £500 a year worse off, figures reveal.

The Chancellor’s vow to cut tax credits and other benefits means that two parents who both work part-time on the minimum wage and have two children will lose £538 a year.

The figures, verified by independent experts at the House of Commons, emerged as Labour stepped up its attack on Mr Osborne’s “Strivers’ Tax”.

And the Guardian has an interesting analysis of the seven areas of the UK that could decide the result of the election.

As conference season draws to a close, the shape of next year’s election is becoming clear. These are the regions where the race for Westminster is likely to be decided:

Struggle in the North: The Tory challenge


Midlands marginals: The key battleground 

The West Country challenge: Lib Dems at bay 

The Ukip fringe: Farage plots his entry 

The battle for the capital: London split 

The elusive south-east: Labour’s southern discomfort 

Scotland chooses again: after the referendum 

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