Sunny

Sunny

max temp: 23°C

min temp: 15°C

Search

The pigs have arrived. See the latest

Pigs Gone Wild

news here.

Clacton: Carswell’s defection shocks the political world

09:00 29 August 2014

UKIP leader Nigel Farage (left) with  Douglas Carswell.

UKIP leader Nigel Farage (left) with Douglas Carswell.

Clacton MP Douglas Carswell yesterday left the Conservative Party and leapt into the arms of Nigel Farage’s United Kingdom Independence Party.

Mr Carswell has been Conservative MP for the Essex constituency – which also includes Frinton, Walton and Jaywick – since 2005 but has always been seen as a “free-thinker” by his former party’s hierarchy.

Some of his less charitable Tory colleagues always described him as a “loose cannon.”

Prime Minister David Cameron described his action as “self-defeating” and promised a strong Conservative campaign to hold it.

Mr Cameron said: “It is obviously deeply regrettable when these things happen and people behave in this way. But it is also, in my view, counter-productive,” he said.

“If you want a referendum on Britain’s future in the EU, whether we should stay or go, the only way to to get that is to have a Conservative government after the next election. That is what until very recently Douglas Carswell himself was saying.”

Mr Carswell’s defection to UKIP was announced by Mr Farage in a hastily-arranged press conference which had more than a touch of the cloak and dagger about it – UKIP’s regional staff in East Anglia knew nothing about it.

The surprise was doubled when Mr Carswell announced that not only was he defecting, he was also resigning from parliament to cause a by-election – which is likely to be held only six months before next year’s general election.

It also came as a surprise to county councillor Roger Lord who had been selected to fight the Clacton seat at the next general election.

Mr Lord told BBC Essex: “It is an enormous discourtesy, for anybody really, just to announce that and say that.

“I think the last time I saw him, I said I would be prepared to give him a reference come next May if he found himself unemployed, which I am pretty sure he would be.

“Perhaps he is jumping ship to try and get in front of all the other Conservative MPs who are going to find themselves in the unemployment queue come next May.”

The Ukip spokeswoman said: “Roger Lord has never been the by-election candidate for Clacton.

“By-election rules determine that the party is entitled to start with a clean slate of nominations for Prospective Parliamentary Candidates, with the final elected candidate being decided by the National Executive Committee.

“Roger Lord is a committed member of Ukip and we appreciate his contribution to the development of the party locally and hope that he understands the decision of the NEC to support Douglas Carswell in the defence of his seat, as a Ukip candidate.”

Mr Carswell said he had written to every member of his Conservative association to let him know about his decision.

“It is only right and proper I stop sitting in the House of Commons and I resign as an MP. I will do that formally today.

“I think it is right and proper I put myself forward as the UKIP candidate and I trust the people. It is up to them to decide if this is the right choice. I am seeking their permission.

“Throughout the years there have been all sorts of MPs who have moved from one party to another, but they have always found an excuse not to actually open themselves to a by-election.

“That would be dishonourable. The only honourable thing for me to do is to say the people I represent in parliament – ‘It is your choice’.

Mr Carswell said: “Don’t get me wrong, I have a lot of time for David Cameron. I like him as a person. I am not expecting him to send me Christmas cards anymore, but he is a decent person.

“I just don’t think he is serious. He is not serious about the change this country needs. He understands on one level the sort of political reforms we need.

“It was all there in the Conservative Party manifesto. It was all there in the coalition agreement, but he has not made it happen.”

Mr Carswell’s Conservative neighbour, North Essex MP Bernard Jenkin warned that his defection could boost Labour if Tory voters followed him in switching to UKIP.

And Colchester LibDem Sir Bob Russell was very blunt in his condemnation of Mr Carswell: “He’s so far to the right of the Conservative Party, I’ve wondered for some time how he could remain a Conservative!”

Mr Carswell took the Harwich seat off Labour incumbent Ivan Henderson in the 2005 general election, but in 2010 the boundaries were significantly changed and the strong Labour areas of Harwich were moved into the neighbouring North Essex seat.

The result was that both of the seats became relatively safe for the Conservatives, and Mr Carswell converted his 920 majority into a majority of more than 12,000.

In 2010 he was one of few Conservative MPs who did not face a UKIP challenge because the anti-Europe party felt he supported their aims.

In his own Conservative literature, Mr Carswell has published an endorsement from the UKIP leader.

Related articles

4 comments

  • I fill very sorry for the candidate that for the last year has worked very hard for UKIP then cast aside for this man , the people of clacton voted carswell in on his back of the Conservative party he then changed sides , I hope the people of clacton now see this man in his real light and they do not adopt him as the UKIP candidate but the person who was in line and Carswell get his just deserves ,yes I am a UKIP supporter .

    Report this comment

    pandy

    Saturday, August 30, 2014

  • At least Mr Carswell has resigned, thus forcing a by-election. Most MPs who have defected or crossed the floor in the past have not done so. Whatever one thinks of Mr Carswell, he has done the honourable thing by resigning. I think he will win the by-election but the Tories will regain the seat at the general election. David Cameron must have been livid.

    Report this comment

    BigGeoff

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • @Supernova6 - You've obviously not heard about TTIP. Countries under the control of corporations, not governments.

    Report this comment

    Origami Penguin

    Friday, August 29, 2014

  • Holy Moses! A man of integrity and principle in politics! We need many more like him to end the insanity of EU domination. How can any nation with a shred of dignity allow itself to be cowed by what is basically a foreign power?

    Report this comment

    Supernova6

    Friday, August 29, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

The SPD says St Nicholas Street is a well managed traditional shopping street with historic shop fronts.

Let’s make the most of the beautiful buildings in Ipswich town centre. That is the message to retailers and other businesses amid concerns that some shop fronts don’t reflect the traditional character of the buildings they occupy.

The 27-year-old killed himself and injured 12 others, three of them seriously, when he detonated an explosive device near a bar in central Ansbach.

A suicide bomber who blew himself up after being turned away from a music festival in southern Germany was a Syrian man who had been denied asylum.

Elliott Thompson. Pic: Suffolk Constabulary.

A Stowmarket man was who was reported as missing to police has been found safe and well.

Rescue teams co-ordinating the search for a missing kayaker off the Jaywick coastline. Picture: RNLI

A major sea rescue operation at Clacton launched after a kayaker went missing on Sunday evening has been called off after the discovery of a body.

Brian Williams

Tributes have been paid to a Suffolk rugby stalwart who dedicated his time to promoting grassroots rugby in the region and across England.

BHS is closing down in Ipswich

BHS staff in Ipswich have still not been told when the store will close, the Star understands.

A drumming workshop at the Big Garden Activlives party on Saturday.

A community garden’s eighth annual fun day has been hailed a success with more people than ever taking part.

Sir Bobby Robson Bridge in Ipswich.

A 28-year-old man was assaulted and robbed of his bag, mobile phone and wallet on the Sir Bobby Robson Bridge at West End Road in Ipswich.

SaxFest music festival - range of bands, including The Thinking Men, Kid Mojo and The Filters, Hot Tramp, Handle with Care, Strike the Sun, Misprinted Lines.

Nearly 2,000 people flocked to the third annual SaxFest this weekend – listening to a host of local bands in the sunshine.

The Summer of Pubs trails 2016

More than 100 pubs in Suffolk and Essex are celebrated in a series of new trails to encourage residents and visitors alike to visit different parts of both counties.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24