THURROCK MP Jackie Doyle-Price insisted this week she would “rather jump off Beachy Head” than defect to Ukip.

Her defiant comments came after speculation she could be one of the next Conservative MPs to follow in the footsteps of Clacton MP Douglas Carswell and join the Eurosceptic party.

Mr Carswell sent tremors through Westminster last Thursday by announcing he was off to Ukip at a press conference alongside leader Nigel Farage.

Since then, there has been speculation among the national media over which Tory MP would
be next.

After winning the 2010 electionby just 92 votes, Ms Doyle-Price – a Eurosceptic herself – was touted as one of those who might switch allegiance.

But she left the Gazette in no doubt about her views on the matter.

She said: “I would sooner jump off Beachy Head than join Ukip.

“I am a Conservative. I have never run away from a fight and I am not going to start now. The
stakes are too high.

“This country cannot afford another Labour Government.”

Ms Doyle-Price, a friend of Mr Carswell, added: “I find it quite bizarre that Douglas has spent
more than 25 years fighting the Labour Party, as I have, and has done the one thing that is most
likely to let Ed Miliband into Downing Street.

“If people want to leave Europe, the best chance they have is to vote Conservative, because we will hold an in/out referendum. If you vote Ukip in Thurrock, you will end up with a Labour Government, who won’t give you a referendum.

“So, if you want out, there is only one way to vote – and that is Conservative.”

Meanwhile, Tim Aker, who is due to stand in Thurrock for Ukip against Ms Doyle-Price at next year’s general election, believes the party is on course to “paint Essex purple”.

Ukip was successful in Thurrock at the local elections in May, securing five new council seats and receiving 39 per cent of the vote.

Mr Aker, elected as one of the region’s Euro MPs in May, said: “My message to Tory MPs in Essex is none of your seats are safe any more – we are turning Essex purple.

“This by-election in Clacton is going to start a domino effect all the way down the Thames Estuary – what starts in Clacton will end in Thurrock.”

Mr Carswell defected after saying David Cameron was “not serious about change” on Europe.