Tory donor Arron Banks switches to Ukip as David Cameron prepares for Conservative party conference speech

Guy Bentley
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Ukip lands Tory donor (Source: Getty)

The Conservative party has suffered yet another blow with the defection of party donor Arron Banks to Ukip.

Banks will donate £100,000 to Nigel Farage's eurosceptic party and could stand as a Ukip candidate in the 2015 general election.

An insurance entrepreneur, Banks has made significant donations to the Conservative party since David Cameron became party leader.

However, Banks has become increasingly disillusioned with the direction of Tory party policy.

Speaking to Sky News, Banks said:

I've supported the Conservatives for a number of years but have come to the realisation that only UKIP supports my views.

Being a member of the EU is like having a first-class ticket on the Titanic. Economically, remaining in the EU is unsustainable.

The defection comes only days after Tory MP Mark Reckless announced he was crossing the floor at Ukip's conference in Doncaster. Earlier this month, Douglas Carswell shocked the Westminster establishment with his defection to Ukip, triggering a by-election in his Clacton constituency.

Yesterday, the lesser known former Conservative deputy mayor of London Richard Barnes pledged his support for Ukip.

Nigel Farage exploited Banks' defection warning that Britain's business community was increasingly sceptical of David Cameron's plans for EU reform.

"This is the beginning of a significant move from the business community who are not prepared to wait for Mr Cameron's referendum," he said.

The Conservatives have not taken kindly to the host of recent defections. Tory party chairman Grant Shapps told the party's conference on Sunday that Mark Reckless "lied, lied and lied again".

Writing in the Sunday Telegraph, London mayor Boris Johnson slammed Conservative MPs thinking of defecting to Ukip as "utterly nuts".

The timing could not be worse for the Prime Minister, who is preparing to deliver his final party conference speech before the general election. Cameron is expected to make pledges to protect NHS spending and cut taxes.

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