Just before Christmas, Douglas Carswell UKIP’s sole MP received an interesting present from former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, who effectively told Carswell to begat off.
Douglas Carswell should not be in Ukip, Nigel Farage has said of the party’s only MP, despite vowing not to interfere in internal politics after stepping down as leader.
Relations between Farage and the Clacton MP have soured since Carswell’s high-profile defection from the Conservatives in 2014.
“He shouldn’t be in the party,” Farage told LBC radio on Friday. “He doesn’t believe in what we stand for, he never has done … Since the general election all he’s done is sought to undermine us and divide us. And I notice even since Paul [Nuttall] has become leader we’ve had some statement from Carswell saying that he thought Theresa May’s doing a fantastic job.”
Whilst he might no longer be UKIP leader, Nigel Farage often ends up playing the role of Banquo’s Ghost to his successors as UKIP leader, Farage’s view should have some impact, coupled with allegations made to the police earlier on this year by an Arron Banks owned company saying that Douglas Carswell helped the Tories defeat Nigel Farage in Thanet South at the last general election this appears to another reason to conclude Douglas Carswell long term future doesn’t lie within UKIP.
And the cherry on the parfait earlier on this year was when it was stated in Owen Bennett’s book The Brexit Club‘Douglas Carswell infiltrated Ukip as part of a plot to “neutralise” Nigel Farage’s “toxic” leadership and stop him playing a key role in the EU Referendum.’ If that allegation is true, now that Leave has won the the referendum, like a good sleeper agent, Carswell can return home.
Around this time of the year bookies put up special bets for the forthcoming year, I’m hoping at least one will put a market on Douglas Carswell ceasing to be a UKIP MP in 2017, depending on the odds it might be worth a punt. Paddy Power are currently offering 8/1 on Douglas Carswell defecting back to the Tories by the end of 2018, that might make a good proxy bet depending on your viewpoint. Though with the precedent that Carswell set when he originally defected, if he defects backs to the Tories that means a by election, and the good people might not reward Carswell for yet another by election, if he becomes independent then that might negate the need for a by election.
PS – Were Carswell to cease to be a UKIP MP, that would mean nearly 4 million voters would be without an MP, indeed had Carswell not defected back in 2014, it is very likely that UKIP would not have won a single constituency at the last general election. That is not meant as a criticism of UKIP more a reflection that first past the post makes it very difficult for other parties than aren’t the Tories or Labour to win seats.
A little over 30 years ago the Alliance polled over 25% of the votes and ended up with fewer than 4% of the seats, and a 186 fewer seats than Labour, despite being a little over 2% behind Labour in the popular vote and The Alliance had a lot more defector-incumbents than UKIP had in 2015, something people should remember when making forecast of a major breakthrough for UKIP at the expense of Labour at the next general election.
If UKIP are looking for a role in the post Brexit world perhaps they should start championing fairer voting systems like AV.