MP denies possible defection as Ukip tales to the Commons

Picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian''[SEE MARK BRANAGAN'S STORY]''Austin Mitchell, MP for and former tv presenter at the Hannah Mitchell Foundation Public Launch at the Bradford Civic Hall in Bradford, West Yorkshire on 9th of March, 2012
Picture by Gabriel Szabo/Guzelian''[SEE MARK BRANAGAN'S STORY]''Austin Mitchell, MP for and former tv presenter at the Hannah Mitchell Foundation Public Launch at the Bradford Civic Hall in Bradford, West Yorkshire on 9th of March, 2012
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Rumours of another Ukip defection have prompted Austin Mitchell to deny he is jumping ship.

Grimsby MP Austin Mitchell has said he is not leaving the Labour party amid speculation he would be the next MP to follow Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless into the Ukip fold.

Mr Carswell kickstarted the latest rumours by refusing to deny he had Mr Mitchell in mind when he said he spoke to one Labour MP on the morning of his re-election as a Ukip MP.

Mr Mitchell said he was “ party man through and through” and insisted there was “no possibility” he would defect.

But Mr Mitchell, due to step down in 2015, said the EU was “Labour albatross” and renewed calls for a referendum.

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has repeatedly claimed to have held talks with unnamed Labour MPs, and the Great Grimsby seat it thought to the party’s top northern target.

Today Mr Farage hailed an “emotional” moment for Ukip as he watched its first elected MP introduced to Parliament.

The party leader was in the Commons for the first time in more than 30 years to see Mr Carswell re-take his seat after claiming victory in the Clacton by-election.

Mr Carswell, who triggered the contest after defecting from the Tories, was shepherded into the chamber by former colleagues Zac Goldsmith and Sir Peter Tapsell.

Arriving at Westminster, Mr Farage said he had not been in the Commons since he was 17 - although he has been to the Lords.

Asked if it felt like an emotional moment for the party, he said: “It does. I think it is a moment.

“I am here to represent Ukip and the millions of people who we represent.”

Mr Carswell said his victory in Clacton with a 12,000 majority showed “change is coming”.

“People are worn down by a three-party system that is not on their side,” he said.

The returning MP said he felt “reinvigorated” and would immediately be adding his name to amendments tabled by Mr Goldsmith aiming to toughen coalition proposals allowing voters to recall MPs. “I am going to come here and try and do the things that I promised.”

A by-election in the Rochester and Strood seat of Mark Reckless, who has also defected from the Tories to Ukip, is expected to be held next month.