Saturday, 25 March 2017

Douglas Carswell: UKIP's only MP quits party to become independent

UKIP's only MP Douglas Carswell has announced he will be leaving the party but will stay on as independent.
In a statement posted on his website, Mr Carswell said he would be quitting the party, with the Prime Minister due to trigger the formal Article 50 divorce process from the EU on Wednesday.

He wrote: "Like many of you, I switched to UKIP because I desperately wanted us to leave the EU.

Now we can be certain that that is going to happen, I have decided that I will be leaving UKIP.

"I will not be switching parties, nor crossing the floor to the Conservatives, so do not need to call a by-election, as I did when switching from the Conservatives to UKIP.

"I will simply be the Member of Parliament for Clacton, sitting as an independent. I will leave UKIP amicably, cheerfully and in the knowledge that we won."

He paid tribute to party members and supporters, and added that although UKIP has not won many seats in Parliament, "in a way, we are the most successful political party in Britain ever".

He added he would now focus on tackling problems affecting the NHS in Clacton.

Caption: Mr Carswell has had a fractious relationship with the former UKIP leader Nigel Farage
The resignation comes after a public spat between Mr Carswell and the party's largest financial backer, Arron Banks, who is a close ally of former leader Nigel Farage.

Mr Farage told Sky News Political Correspondent Tamara Cohen: "He jumped before he was pushed, he should have gone some time ago.

"Whilst he was sincere about Brexit, he was never UKIP and constantly tried to undermine and divide us.

"I felt the day after he was elected he was saying things that weren't really UKIP."

Mr Banks suggested this month he could trigger a by-election in Clacton, by using a recall petition, and stand against Mr Carswell.

Responding to the resignation, Mr Banks tweeted a smiley face emoji and a green tick.

SKY    News.