Douglas Carswell has just announced that he will not stand for re-election as the MP for Clacton. The independent MP, who quit Ukip last month, said that he was planning ‘to move on to other things’ and was looking ‘forward to being able to read newspapers without appearing in them’. In a statement on his website, Carswell said:
‘As I promised in my maiden speech, I have done everything possible to ensure we got, and won, a referendum to leave the European Union – even changing parties and triggering a by election to help nudge things along. Last summer, we won that referendum. Britain is going to become a sovereign country again. I have decided that I will not now be seeking re-election. I intend to vote Conservative on June 8th and will be offering my full support to whoever the Clacton Constituency Conservatives select as their candidate.’
Carswell’s reason for standing down – that having ‘helped win the referendum last June’ it was a case of ‘job done’ – is similar to the justification he gave for walking away from Ukip in March. Yet it’s difficult not to find his comment that he would back the Tories and throw his full support behind the Conservative candidate in Clacton at the snap election interesting. Did Carswell try – and fail – to rejoin the Tory fold?
One thing is certain: Carswell’s decision will put an end to the bunfight that was brewing in the constituency after Arron Banks announced his decision to run there in a bid to topple Carswell.
Here’s Douglas Carswell’s statement in full: