DAVID Cameron has admitted the Conservatives are underdogs in the Clacton by-election but insists the Tories can snatch victory from UKIP.

The Prime Minister was in Clacton with candidate Giles Watling today.

"We are taking this election very seriously - we can win this," said Mr Cameron.

"We are the underdogs in this by-election, but we have an excellent candidate in Giles Watling.

“He is a local man, a local councillor and will help deliver our long-term economic plan.

“We can win here and we are fighting a very strong local campaign.”

Mr Cameron was shown the new £36million coastal protection scheme getting underway at Holland-on-Sea.

The Gazette asked Mr Cameron whether Douglas Carswell’s defection had hurt him and the Conservatives.

Mr Carswell’s defection from the Tories to UKIP, and subsequent resignation as MP, has triggered the by-election on October 9.

“I think he has let people down – they voted for a Conservative MP,” he said.

“I think what he has done has been totally counter-productive – he wants an in/out referendum on Europe.

“It’s counter-productive – the wrong thing to do.”

Mr Cameron said he was pleased to see the sea defence works, which he said showed the Government was investing in Clacton.

“UKIP aren’t interested in regeneration – they are interested in trying to make a point,” he said.

“But there isn’t really any point to it because the point they most want to make is ‘let’s have a referendum on Europe’.

“Well, you only get that with me – you only get that with a Conservative government.

“In terms of continuing regeneration and continuing work to improve the quality of life for people here in Clacton, it’s a Conservative MP that you need.”

For the full story, see tomorrow's Daily Gazette.