The Tories have suffered another embarrassing defection – with Boris Johnson’s former right hand man at City Hall becoming the latest to join Ukip.
Richard Barnes, who served as deputy mayor of London for four years, accused the Conservatives and other main parties of failing to “speak the language of normal people”.
“Ukip talks to, listens to and speaks for the ordinary men and women of this country in a way that the other parties just cannot grasp. On issues such as education, taxation, immigration and of course the European Union it is Ukip that is speaking for the majority,” he said.
As the Tories annual conference continued in Birmingham, David Cameron admitted he faced a “fight” at the next election to convince voters he could deliver on key policies. But he dismissed Mr Barnes’ move – which follows high-profile defections by MPs Mark Reckless and Douglas Carswell – as “senseless”.
The Prime Minister told 5 News: “I think it is rather senseless. None of this is personal, it’s about the future of our country.
“If you want an in/out referendum when it comes to Europe, the only way you can get it is by getting a Conservative government with me as Prime Minister. I can deliver that.
“If you vote for Ukip, the chances are you will end up with Ed Miliband in Downing Street and no in/out referendum and Ed Balls at the Treasury wrecking our economy.”