Mark Reckless quits Ukip and rejoins Tories

Conservative Kelly Tolhurst won the Rochester and Strood seat from Mark Reckless in the 2015 election

We are disappointed to hear that Mark Reckless has made a decision to leave UKIP in order to join the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly.

Nigel Farage has urged Mark Reckless to remain with Ukip amid widespread speculation that the former MP, now a Welsh assembly member for the party, could be about to quit and support the Conservatives again.

He said: "We are disappointed to hear that Mark Reckless has chose to leave UKIP in order to join the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly".

Tory sources have said Mr Reckless, the AM for South Wales East, has held talks with Andrew RT Davies, leader of the Welsh Conservatives.

The former MP came to prominence when he quit Tory ranks at Westminster to join Ukip.

Announcing his latest change of course, Mr Reckless praised Theresa May for her "exemplary" leadership since becoming prime minister. Carswell's decision left the party without an MP.

"I think the Conservatives will be in a much stronger position now in Wales to work with Theresa May and get the best deal for Wales".

There is no rule that would require Mr Reckless to give up his seat and give way to the next UKIP candidate on the regional list.

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Today, however, he announced he would leave the party to sit with the Conservatives.

"Since being elected to the Senedd a year ago, Mark has proven himself to be a hard-working and dedicated AM who has been an effective representative for the South East Wales region", he said.

Speaking on BBC News, he said: "If the people who are leaving don't believe in Ukip and its future then as many as it takes for us to have a party full of committed Ukipers".

"It is now incumbent on Mark Reckless to relinquish a position he has only by virtue of a Ukip mandate".

Reckless, who defected from the Conservatives in 2014 and later lost his Rochester and Strood seat at the 2015 general election, said it was "job done" after Leave won the European Union referendum and Theresa May had invoked Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty.

"It's never going to be clean when you break away but the way it was done with Mark was very messy and I'd say him coming back looks practically impossible for a long period of time".

"Mark's decision to join the group is testament to the strength and unity of the Welsh Conservative team in Cardiff Bay which provides the only real opposition to a exhausted and complacent Labour administration".

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