It never rains, it pours for the Prime Minister

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

1995 library filer of Chris Moncrieff. Photo by Peter Smith/PA

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It never rains, it pours.

And it has certainly been bucketing down on the Prime Minister and the Conservative Party for about a week now, with no prospect of its easing off.

Indeed, amid the fall-out of the defection of MP Douglas Carswell from the Tories to Ukip, there emerges the very real fear that the subsequent by-election in Clacton will result in the Tories being trounced and Ukip returning its first-ever MP to Westminster. In short, the Conservatives will be dead in the water.

Added to all these woes, the Conservatives discover their target to reduce immigration has been missed by miles - a key issue at the next election.

This has been a very bad day at the office.

At least - rare for a turncoat - Carswell has had the decency, once he changed parties, to resign from Parliament. He has a big personal following in Clacton which returned him, as the Tory candidate in 2010, with a majority of some 12,000. The pundits are now confidently saying that Ukip will smash that in the by-election, and return the popular Mr Carswell in his new colours with a huge majority.

Indeed, a weekend poll puts Nigel Farage’s party an amazing 44 points ahead of the Conservatives in Clacton. If this was transformed into reality, it would virtually sweep ghe Tories off the map in this area.

This would obviously devastate the beleaguered Cameron whose “promise” of an in-out referendum on the European Union in 2017 is much too long to wait for the impatient British electorate, who are growing ever more frustrated at what they see as the EU trying to dominate Britain and make Westminster progressively more impotent . This is the price politicians pay for giving the electorate what they (the politicians) think is good for them rather than what the voters actually want.

There is also another valid scenario - that Carswell’s action could actually help Ed Miliband into 10 Downing Street as Ukip candidates slash Tory majorities in current marginal seats.

I would not be surprised to see the Prime Minister going very grey between now and the general election in May.