MPs in Worcestershire have criticised a former Tory who dramatically quit the party to join UKIP - saying he is "detached from reality".

Douglas Carswell stunned the Conservatives last week by quitting as an MP for Clacton, in Essex and announcing he will contest a by-election for Nigel Farage's party.

The shock move led to reports over the weekend that up to another eight Tory MPs are considering defecting to UKIP amid dissatisfaction with David Cameron's position over Europe.

Worcester MP Robin Walker has even said he would not mind if the party did not contest the by-election, calling it a "terrible distraction".

"He has always been on the fringes of the party anyway, his intellectual position is that he thinks it right to rebel," he said.

"It's a real shame from the party's perspective, I do think Douglas is detached from reality over this whole issue.

"I can't see us not contesting the by-election but if we weren't to do it I wouldn't mind, it's a terrible distraction.

"But I would be very surprised if the number of MPs (looking to also defect to UKIP) is anything like that number.

"A couple of people spring to mind but I don't believe it's something other MPs would consider doing."

Sir Peter Luff, who represents Mid-Worcestershire, said: "In politics you have to compromise and balance conflicting points of view.

"Douglas is dismissive of people who hold different perspectives, it's very rare any politician can do that.

"He has an intellectual conviction which is tarnished by ignoring political reality."

If Mr Carswell wins the by-election he would be the first UKIP MP to ever enter the House of Commons.

The maverick Eurosceptic has said he does not believe the the Prime Minister is "serious about the change we need" in Europe.

His defection was announced during a routine Nigel Farage press conference, during which the UKIP leader said he had "a surprise" for the press and paraded the backbencher.

Mr Cameron has pledged an in/out referendum on Europe in 2017, but only if the party wins next year's General Election.