Douglas carswell

Is the end nigh for Ukip?

Ukip is a party dwelling on its past glories rather than its future this afternoon. The party’s leader Paul Nuttall has very few crumbs of comfort from the results so far: Ukip has lost every single one of the seats it had previously held. It has, just moments ago, snatched a single seat from Labour in Lancashire. Yet even the most optimistic Kipper would struggle to put a spin on the performance so far. The line that there are still results to come through is rapidly wearing very thin. Instead, when Nuttall broke his silence earlier he talked of the party’s ‘electoral success over recent years’ and how the party had forced the

Did Douglas Carswell try – and fail – to rejoin the Tory fold?

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

Banks vs Carswell: this time it’s even more personal

Theresa May’s surprise announcement today has caught hacks and MPs alike off guard. While Labour MPs fret over the prospect of a snap election, is there also reason for a newly independent MP to sweat? Step forward Douglas Carswell. After quitting Ukip last month to stand as an independent, Carswell upset many Kippers by refusing to hold a by-election by which voters could choose between a Ukip candidate and Carswell. None were more bothered than Arron Banks, the Ukip donor, who had hoped to stand against his former foe. Well, Carswell may be able to prevent a by-election, but he cannot stop a general election. Come June, Carswell will need to contest the seat.

If Ukip is to survive, Nigel Farage also needs to go

So poisonous were the relations between Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell that no-one will have been surprised at the latter’s resignation from Ukip, nor the pleasure it generated among Farage and his supporters. It takes something to cheer the departure of your only MP; along with the funding that goes with it. Yet the irony is that in theory Farage and Carswell ought to have been soulmates in Ukip. Both are naturally social conservatives but economic liberals. In contrast to many Ukip members, neither are attracted by protectionism or anti-globalisation – two sentiments which also unite many of Donald Trump’s supporters. From what we know about the political views of

It’s mission accomplished for Douglas Carswell as Ukip’s only MP quits

Today Ukip went from a political party with one MP, to a political party with no MPs. Douglas Carswell has quit the party to sit as an independent. In a statement on his website, the MP for Clacton said he left Ukip on amicable terms ‘in the knowledge that we won’: ‘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,

Paul Nuttall picks a side in Ukip’s civil war

A new week, a new drama for Ukip. Although Nigel Farage last month called for Douglas Carswell to be kicked out of the party for disloyalty over a knighthood, it’s Farage’s righthand man Arron Banks who has today been left out in the cold.  The Ukip donor says he has been pushed out of the party after his membership lapsed. On trying to rejoin, Banks was told that he had been suspended ‘apparently for saying the current leadership couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding’. In recent weeks, the millionaire donor has become increasingly critical of the party leadership — demanding to be made chairman after Paul Nuttall lost the Stoke by-election. The

‘Sir’ Nigel Farage gets his gong after all

The row about whether Douglas Carswell did or didn’t block Nigel Farage’s knighthood has sparked another bout of civil war within Ukip. But Mr S is pleased to report there could be a happy ending after all. On Russia Today (natch), the former Ukip leader had a taste of what it would be like to get his gong. Unfortunately for Farage, his ‘knighthood’ was given to him by a child dressed in a cape rather than the Queen. But at least Farage got to hear those magic words: ‘Arise Sir Nigel’. However, the happy moment may well have been dampened at the end when the child turned to Farage and said to

The real reason Ukip are tearing each other apart

If the British establishment really wants to troll Ukip, then I suppose it ought to give Douglas Carswell a knighthood for blocking Nigel Farage’s knighthood. He says he didn’t, of course, and I don’t see how he could have done. Farage, though, clearly thinks he did, and his wrath about this is the most fun thing to have happened in British politics for ages. He’s furious. His little demons are furious. Too furious, really. ‘This must be about something else,’ I kept thinking. ‘Deep down, it must be. But what?’ According to the great smoked kipper himself, in the Daily Telegraph on Tuesday, Carswell has been a thorn in the

Ukip’s troubles descend into farce

Although last week’s by-elections exposed cracks in Labour, it’s Ukip that has gone into free fall as a result. After Paul Nuttall failed to win in Stoke-on-Trent Central, both Nigel Farage and chief donor Arron Banks were quick to go on the attack. Over the weekend, Banks called for Nuttall to make him party chairman or else. Now both Farage and Banks are gunning for Douglas Carswell to be expelled from the party over reports that Ukip’s only MP frustrated Farage’s chances of being awarded a knighthood (it turns out that the anti-establishment politician is okay with some aspects of the establishment after all). Banks has since promised to run against Carswell in

Ukip’s only MP gives Ukip conference a miss

Although Paul Nuttall made a quick escape from today’s Ukip Spring Conference in order to avoid the pesky press, compared with Douglas Carswell it was an admirable effort. Mr S understands that Ukip’s only MP has deigned not to bother turning up today. While there are over 25 Ukip politicians speaking at the event, Carswell will not be one of them. Instead the MP for Clacton will appear through the medium of video — opting to record a video message rather than make the journey up North. While Nuttall has promised to give Labour a run for its money in the party’s traditional heartlands, Mr S suspects the message would hold a

Ukip is missing an amazing chance

There was a comedy programme about Nigel Farage on the BBC this week, entitled Nigel Farage Gets His Life Back. Purporting to be a Swiftian satire about how Ukip’s former leader would cope with life beyond the political fray, it was, as usual, a case of the corporation sneering at a man who has a decent claim to being the most successful British politician of the modern age and, by extension, sneering at the four million or so Ukip voters and indeed the 52 per cent of the population who voted Leave. In other words, a very large proportion of the BBC’s licence payers, whom the BBC resolutely despises. All

New Ukip leader says Putin is one of her heroes

Diane James, Ukip’s new leader, did her first major TV interview as Ukip leader this morning. And very revealing it was too. When Andrew Neil asked her who her political heroes were other than Vladimir Putin, she did not deny that the Russian leader was one of her heroes. She said that neither Clinton nor Trump were a hero of hers. When Andrew then pushed her on who were her heroes were, she named Margaret Thatcher and Winston Churchill. Andrew then summed up by saying, your heroes are Putin, Churchill and Thatcher. James said that yes, they were. Here’s the clip.  So, the leader of the UK’s third political party

The Spectator summer party, in pictures | 6 July 2016

In recent weeks, Westminster politicians have found themselves compared to the characters of House of Cards and Game of Thrones over their post-referendum antics. Happily, parliamentarians were able to put such differences aside on Wednesday night as they took a well-deserved break from work at The Spectator summer party. As Labour’s Rachel Reeves and Liz Kendall caught up with Liz Truss, Laurence Fox — the Lewis actor — put on a passionate display for the cameras with his male companion for the evening. Meanwhile with a Tory leadership contest underway, Theresa May made sure to do the rounds and rally support for her campaign at the champagne-fuelled bash. Her efforts did not go unrewarded, with Fox confiding to

PMQ’s sketch: two plank-walkers at the helm of the ship

Rare to see a plank-walker at the helm of the ship. Today there were two. Cameron has accepted the inevitable and his demeanour at the despatch box was relaxed, amused, peaceable. Buoyant at times. Even foes like Bernard Jenkin exchanged warm words with him. And he handled Corbyn with extreme mildness until a rush of blood seized him at the end. ‘For heaven’s sake, man, go!’ he lashed out. But go where? Jezza’s impersonation of Rasputin is his best performance yet. He’s indestructible. Last weekend he was hacked to pieces by a flash-mob of tooled-up colleagues. He then suffered a thundering defeat in a no-confidence vote which merely boosted his confidence

James Forsyth

MPs gave a pantomime response to Ukip at today’s PMQs

PMQs was always going to be an odd event today. David Cameron is going as Prime Minister and Jeremy Corbyn is trying to survive wave after wave of resignations from his front bench. When Corbyn rose to his feet, there was almost complete silence from the Labour benches—there was the odd chuckle from the Tory one. The first few exchanges were relatively flat. But then Cameron was clearly riled by Corbyn suggesting that the referendum had been lost because voters didn’t think the status quo was working for them. Cameron swiped back that if the EU referendum was Corbyn putting his back into something, as the Labour leader had claimed,

Leave.EU camp stir tensions with Douglas Carswell assassination jibe

Although the first rule of spin doctoring is to never become the story, Leave.EU’s Andy Wigmore appears to be taking the Alastair Campbell approach when it comes to managing the campaign’s comms. After the Mail on Sunday revealed that Nigel Farage may have been the victim of an assassination attempt — after a wheel on his Volvo fell off his car in suspicious circumstances while he was driving on a motorway — Wigmore took to Twitter to mischievously suggest the culprit could be Douglas Carswell given his strained relationship with the Ukip leader: Douglas Carswell???? He's pretty cross at the moment #justsaying — Honourable Andy Wigmore JPs (@andywigmore) January 3,

Nigel Farage warns Douglas Carswell: ‘it’s going to have to end’

Nigel Farage popped up on the Daily Politics today to warn Douglas Carswell that critical comments about his leadership cannot continue. The Ukip leader said the Clacton MP’s views don’t have any particular significance, despite the fact he is the only Kipper who was elected in May’s general election: ‘Well he did but so what? He’s one person. So what? We cannot have one individual every single time there’s a Ukip conference and it finishes with a story of disunity and it’s all being caused by one person. And frankly, I think it’s going to have to end.’ Farage was quite shifty on what the ‘end’ might be, although he did point out ‘it will not


Christmas cheer in short supply at Ukip HQ

As MPs and staff depart Westminster to begin their Christmas break, spare a thought for those at Ukip HQ who have found their party on the brink of civil war today after Douglas Carswell called for Nigel Farage to be replaced with a new leader. What’s more, if that wasn’t enough to dampen the festive spirit for Kippers, Steerpike understands that they have further reason for woe. After a testing year for the party which saw disappointing election results and financial difficulties, they have been dealt the ultimate blow: no Christmas staff party. While over at Labour HQ in Brewers Green, Corbynistas and Blairites alike have been partying most nights this week at a range of festive events, the party

Is Douglas Carswell trying to oust Nigel Farage?

Douglas Carswell set off a bomb in Ukip this morning, declaring that the party needs a ‘fresh face’ and it should become an ‘optimistic, sunshine, smiley, socially liberal, unapologetically free market party’. These comments have been interpreted as a leadership challenge to Nigel Farage, who has in turn told Carswell to ‘put up or shut up’ — i.e. challenge him for the leadership or be quiet. Relations between Farage and Carswell have never been particularly healthy but this marks a new low in their relationship. What prompted Carswell to make these remarks now — is this the beginnings of an effort to remove Farage or an airing of grievances? The timing is certainly suspicious,

PMQs: Cameron tries to bring Christmas cheer to the Commons

The last PMQs before Christmas will not live long in the memory. After last week’s rather entertaining Eagle Osborne clash, it was back to the Cameron and Corbyn show. The Labour leader has now abandoned his ‘new politics’ style and today asked all of his questions on the NHS. The exchanges weren’t particularly enlightening as Cameron parried the Labour leader with relative ease. Cameron was clearly keen to whip up the Tory benches and send them off for the holidays in good cheer. But the atmosphere in the Chamber remained relatively muted. . Angus Robertson went on the EU renegotiation, the subject which Corbyn should have led on as six questions