Ex-Tory candidate defects to UKIP in clash over Europe

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A TORY candidate who contested a key marginal seat at the last election has defected to the UK Independence Party.

Janice Small, who stood for the Tories in the West Yorkshire seat of Batley and Spen last May, says she had deserted because David Cameron has proved to be a “Europhile” as Prime Minister.

She was one of a handful of candidates UKIP decided not to challenge because of her Eurosceptic views, but she missed out on the seat as Labour MP Mike Wood retained his seat by nearly 4,500 votes. Now she says she would consider standing for her new party in next year’s European elections if invited to do so.

She told the Yorkshire Post: “I voted for David Cameron as a leadership candidate because we were told he was going to be the most Europhobic Prime Minister. We waited for him to become tough on Europe when he was elected leader.

“But then he became Europhile, saying we should be in Europe.

“When you’re a candidate it’s very difficult to have your views.

“The Conservative Party is supposed to be a broad church and had I been an MP I would have toed the line on most policies, but not on this.”

In the wake of the economic crisis engulfing the Eurozone a group of about 100 Tory MPs have got together to discuss how they can renegotiate the UK’s relationship with European institutions.

Many are keen to bring back some powers from Brussels, but the group is not pressing to withdraw from the European Union altogether.

However, Ms Small said she believed Britain would be better off pulling out. She suggested a referendum could offer the British public a choice of remaining in the EU, pulling out, or simply being part of a free trade area.