Douglas Carswell has just re-entered the House of Commons as a Ukip MP. Nigel Farage was in the peers’ gallery to watch his first elected MP take his seat. So were many Tory MPs, who watched Carswell walk through the Chamber in deadly silence.
If Mark Reckless does win the Rochester by-election, how to receive him in the Chamber will be the least of MPs’ concerns.
MPs tell me there had been much debate beforehand about how to receive Carswell. There was no formal instruction from the whips, but the consensus was that it would be more dignified to remain silent. Some had considered booing, but others pointed out that the new MPs would be giving an oath of loyalty to the Queen, which MPs should respect, as well as the democratic will of the voters of Clacton. No-one raised the idea of cheering, funnily enough.