CLACTON’S streets were awash with television crews and reporters as UKIP leader Nigel Farage made waves with Tory defector Douglas Carswell.
The maverick Clacton MP sensationally quit the Conservative Party on Thursday and defected to the UK Independence Party.
Eurosceptic Mr Carswell also quit his seat – triggering a by-election, for which he will stand as the UKIP candidate.
The pair visited the seaside town, talking to the press and residents before visiting the Gazette office in Jackson Road.
Mr Farage said: “Douglas has a huge level of support on the street – a lot of people have stopped to say they will still be voting for Douglas as a UKIP candidate.
“What was surprising was that not only was this a genuine shock announcement that wasn’t leaked before, which is unusual in British politics, but that a lot of the response we have had – even from those newspapers who we wouldn’t expect it – was positive.
“Douglas’ decision has been honourable and he is putting himself at risk by doing this.
“But he is doing it because of his principles.
“I can’t think of anybody in my political lifetime who had changed party like this over a political principle – and put them self back up before the electorate to let them decide.
“It really is quite unique.”
Mr Carswell said he was overwhelmed with the support he has received from constituents following his defection.
“The level of support I have received has been phenomenal,” he said.
“I have had people coming up to me for a number of years saying I should join UKIP because of my views.
“I have moved – and I hope voters come with me.
“It is a big risk, but I want to see real change and I don’t think it matters which of the three parties are on the front bench there just won’t be any.
“I want a real change in our relationship with the EU.
“But it all hinges on what Clacton people think – if they vote for real change now then I think the sky is the limit.”
Mr Carswell and Mr Farage were stopped on their tour of the town by numerous residents, as well as Pavilion owner Billy Peak and cafe owner Derek Downs, who congratulated him on his move.
“Douglas is a true man for this area,” said Mr Peak.
But not everyone agreed, one Clacton resident shouted “traitor” towards Mr Carswell as she walked past.