It’s not often a party celebrates losing representation in Westminster, but today I am doing just that. Douglas Carswell has been a malevolent influence in Ukip and today he has removed himself, following calls from many people, myself included, that he needs to go.
Since joining the party; something I believe he did in name but not in spirit, Mr Carswell has been nothing but a source of division and I believe that is exactly what he wanted to be.
In his book The Brexit Club, author Owen Bennett claimed that Mr Carswell joined the party to “undermine” the man who brought us Brexit, Nigel Farage. I believe this is something he continued to do after the referendum.
I find it baffling that Carswell admits he joined Ukip to take out Farage and the party ahead of the referendum and the party took no action— Owen Bennett (@owenjbennett) March 5, 2017
With him gone, Ukip can now move forward as a united, radical, libertarian party sticking to the principles of its foundation and embracing the legacy of Nigel Farage.
This country needs a party which stands for entrepreneurship, minimal state interference, free trade and liberty. The constant sniping within Ukip which has dominated it since the referendum has stopped us developing policies and showcasing the talent that exists within our ranks.
As defence spokesman, I am more interested in what Ukip suggest about reinvigorating our Armed Forces and about ensuring that we are not paying for an EU military structure which only last week in Strasbourg MEPs voted for us to do. To me, £100bn from tax payers coffers on something they voted against is more important than endless NEC meetings trying to stop Douglas tweeting spiteful messages and stir up bad feeling.
Without Douglas’s "parliamentary research unit" undermining the work of other spokespeople we can get that radical manifesto together, including an exciting idea Home Affairs spokeswoman Jane Collins and I are working on over prison reform - without fear of someone ostensibly on our own side sticking the knife in.
As Mr Carswell honoured the principle of calling an election when leaving a party, it is up to him to show if he has any last vestiges of honour and call one now.
He might say that he doesn’t need to because he is becoming an independent but my view is that he has been elected twice as a Ukip MP, thanks to the hard work and resources of Ukip and its members. It wasn’t Douglas Carswell running his campaign and funding it, it was Ukip. He may have chosen the political wilderness as an interim but that doesn’t mean he should also occupy a moral vacuum as well.
The only party Douglas Carswell would thrive in would be the Carswell party because I truly believe he is incapable of loyalty to anyone but himself and Daniel Hannan
I said before that the only party Douglas Carswell would thrive in would be the Carswell party because I truly believe he is incapable of loyalty to anyone but himself and Daniel Hannan. But that doesn’t mean his constituents do not deserve a say in the matter. They voted for Ukip, just as they have been voting for Ukip in by-elections in Tendring District Council and they deserve to be represented by the party they voted for. This is especially important given he has not ruled out standing for the Conservatives again in 2020.
Post-Carswell Ukip has a glorious deep purple opportunity to once again seize the political agenda, just as we have done in the recent past and we will not let this moment pass. Michael Howard called Ukip cranks and gadflies: well I”m glad an irritant who was distracting our focus has decided to leave - even if it was to jump before he was pushed.