The Conservative Party vice chair Michael Fabricant has called on his party to recognise the policies from Ukip that are "working" - and said that his party's voice was "muffled and not crisp".
In a lengthy series of tweets published to his 9,992 followers on Friday night, MP Michael Fabricant, who has been one of the key figures leading the campaign for the third-placed Tory candidate Maria Hutchings in Eastleigh's by-election, said: "The only real winner was UKIP."
"UKIP appealed to protest voters but also to Blue Collar Conservative voters. UKIP do not have the resources to fight 650 seats effectively at a General Election. Also this was almost certainly a protest vote. But no-one should write UKIP off. They will do well in the European elections (their very raison d'etre).
"UKIP are unlikely to do well in the General Election, but it is not toally impossible. The Conservatives need to 'connect' too."
He called on the Tories to change their "voice" to capture the Ukip voters. "The Conservative voice is muffled and not crisp. It does not clearly project Conservative core policies or principles.
"The party must now co-ordinate and simplify its message without policy distractions away from core principles.
"Everyone from the PM downwards must focus on the economy, immigration, crime, Europe and not allow other side policies distract."
In a tweet which seemed to refer to the recent gay marriage debate. "Of course, liberal policies do not distract Government from the core issues, but they are seen to do so by the electorate
"With UKIP clearly announcing policies the public want to hear, we must do the same."
But he warned: "When two centre right, eurosceptic parties scrap with each other, it allows a leftish, pro-Europe Party to achieve power."
Earlier on Friday, Prime Minister David Cameron was attacked by Tory backbencher Eleanor Laing, who was scathing of the “hurtful” Tory leadership, who she said had abandoned “ordinary Conservative voters”.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4's World At One, the MP for Epping Forest said, “ordinary Conservative voters don't feel that this government is in tune with them,” adding that Cameron and his Westminster coterie were not “tuning in to the hopes and fears of the vast majority of ordinary people out there in Britain today”.
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