— TSE (@TSEofPB) August 25, 2016
Can or will Douglas Carswell remain a UKIP MP if senior Kippers are making these allegations?
Forget traingate this is the political story of the week, although I can sympathise with those who say a UKIP internal squabbling story is up there with a dog bites man story, but this story has achieved that rare feat, leaving me lost for words.
Senior members of Ukip have accused the party’s only MP of helping the Conservatives defeat Nigel Farage in South Thanet in the general election last year, according to Ukip’s main donor, Arron Banks.
Farage, then the leader of Ukip, was beaten by the Tory candidate, Craig Mackinlay, after a controversial campaign in the Kent constituency.
Banks’s company has written to Kent police with the allegation that Douglas Carswell, the Ukip MP for Clacton, helped the Tory campaign retain the seat. It details allegations that Carswell downloaded Ukip data for South Thanet and passed it to the Conservatives, enabling them to do “push polling” of key voters.
Push polling is when an apparently unbiased telephone survey spreads negative rumours about a candidate.
Carswell defected to Ukip from the Tories in 2014 but has had a fraught relationship with both Banks and Farage.
According to the letter, Carswell was granted access to the Ukip database but then only accessed the South Thanet data.
A letter sent to the police by Precision Risk & Intelligence, where Banks is chief executive, claims that “we have evidence of excessive spending by the Conservatives and secretive dealings between them and a senior Ukip representative to collude against Mr Farage”.
It should be noted that Douglas Carswell has quite pithily denied these allegations, he said “There is no basis in these claims whatsoever. We should just be relieved that those responsible for the disastrous campaign in South Thanet were not responsible for the successful referendum campaign.”
But given that these allegations it might be worth looking at this market being offered by Ladbrokes on Douglas Carswell resigning the UKIP whip in 2016.
Given the time constraints it is no bet for me, even given Carswell’s past form for leaving political parties and the allegations made against him this week, the bet will not pay out if he is expelled from UKIP. UKIP does have a history of kneecapping* the internal opponents of Nigel Farage, as Suzanne Evans, the Lady Jane Grey of UKIP, can attest to.
*That’s a metaphorical kneecapping, not a literal one.