Douglas Carswell quitting UKIP

Douglas CarswellImage copyright

UKIP’s Douglas Carswell is quitting the party to become an independent MP for Clacton and says he is doing so “amicably”.

Mr Carswell defected from the Conservatives to join UKIP in 2014.

He said he joined the party because he wanted the UK to leave the EU and now “that is going to happen, I have decided that I will be leaving UKIP”.

Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage had demanded Mr Carswell quit, accusing him of “actively working against UKIP”.

Party donor Arron Banks had suggested he could stand against Mr Carswell at the next election, amid a long-running feud over UKIP’s future direction and strategy.

UKIP has not formally responded to Mr Carswell’s announcement.

But on Twitter, Mr Banks posted a smiley face emoji and a green tick.

Image copyright

Writing on his website, Mr Carswell, the party’s only MP, said: “I will leave UKIP amicably, cheerfully and in the knowledge that we won.”

He added: “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.”

Mr Carswell said: “I will be putting all of my effort into tackling some of the local problems affecting the NHS in our part of Essex… Local comes first.”

Media captionDouglas Carswell: “Only UKIP can shake up that cosy little clique called Westminster”

Mr Carswell, 45, first entered the Commons in 2005 as MP for Harwich, defeating Labour’s candidate by just 920 votes. By 2010 he defeated the same opponent by 12,000 votes – although boundary changes had seen the seat renamed Clacton.

He took the seat with a 3,437 majority at the general election in 2015.

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