Tory MP who supported same-sex marriage defects to UKIP

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Conservative MP Mark Reckless, who voted in favour of same-sex marriage, has announced his defection to the United Kingdom Independence Party.

The Tory politician, who has represented the Rochester and Strood constituency since 2010, voted in favour of the same-sex marriage last year, and if re-elected will be UKIP’s first Parliamentarian in favour of equal marriage.

He announced his defection at UKIP’s party conference, following in the footsteps of Tory MP Douglas Carswell, who announced last month he would stand down as a Conservative to seek re-election for UKIP.

Mr Carswell however voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, calling it “arrogant”, and also in 2007 voted against protections for sexual orientation in the provision of goods and services, under the Equality Act.

Mr Reckless told the conference: “I remember the promises I made to my constituents in Rochester and Strood at the last election, and I intend to keep them.

“I found that it’s impossible to keep these promises as Conservative and that is why I am joining UKIP.

“If I am to seek to represent them in different colours, I shall ask their permission – I will resign my seat in parliament, trigger a by-election and stand for UKIP.

“If we can win in Rochester and Strood, we can show that UKIP can break through right across the country.”

Mr Reckless’s move is surprising, as he has repeatedly confirmed this month that he has no plans to defect.

A by-election is set to take place in Mr Carswell’s Clacton constituency on October 9, while the Rochester & Strood by-election is likely to take place at a later date.