— Mike Smithson (@MSmithsonPB) August 28, 2014
And will his defection encourage others?
Back in 2005 Douglas Carswell was one of a select group of Tories who won seats from LAB. He took Harwich. Then, five years later in the new seat of Clacton, he held on thanks to a swing from LAB of 9.7%, The national swing was 5% which is a good indication of how well he did.
He had a strong reputation within the Tory party for his organisational skills.
What we don’t know yet is whether Carswell will be able to bring much of his organisation with him. If so I’d suggest that he’s unstoppable.
He’s a big figure at Westminster which is why today news is such a shock.
A Carswell victory in the by-election and could provide encouragement for other Tory MPs who might be considering a shift. Worst of all the Carswell defection keeps the attention on UKIP at a time when Tory strategists were hoping that its support would fade.
This makes a Cameron second term less likely and Miliband the main beneficiary.