The Conservative Party remains deeply worried that a third Tory MP may defect to Ukip, especially if Mark Reckless wins the Rochester by-election in November.
As fingers are pointed wildly at the backbenches, one MP has moved to bluntly deny the suggestion he will be next. "What total bollocks," Conor Burns said today. An article in The Week said suspicions had been aroused after the Bournemouth MP Burns was "seen chatting with Farage at Westminster".
At the time of publication it was noted that Burns had "yet to respond". He has now.
What total bollocks http://t.co/vNfV8lxVui— Conor Burns MP (@Conor_BurnsMP) October 23, 2014
It would indeed be something of a surprise if Burns, who was recently appointed to the executive committee of the Conservative Party's backbench 1922 committee, were to defect. And he was keen to point out that just because he had spoken to the Ukip leader, it did not mean he was about to jump ship.
"Just had good chat with Nigel Farage after @DouglasCarswell took his seat in the House of Commons," he tweeted last week. He quickly added: "Calm down people. A chat with another politician doesn't equal defection. I joined Conservative Party at 14 and will spend my life in it."