When Douglas Carswell defected, many Tory MPs were quick to say that an aggressive campaign against him would be counter-productive. There is none of that talk today.
Listening to Tories this afternoon one is struck by how so many of them view the Reckless defection as different to the Carswell one. They point out Carswell didn’t regularly deny that he was going to defect in the way that Reckless did. Reckless’s timing is also far more clearly designed to hurt the Tory party than Carswell’s was.
Judging by the conversations I’ve had this afternoon, the whips won’t find it hard to get Tory MPs down to Rochester to campaign. But if Ukip did win this seat, it would be an even bigger earthquake than Clacton as it is less typically Ukip territory. Defeating Reckless in Rochester is now absolutely key to Cameron holding the line in his own party.