Douglas carswell

I’ve been right about Ukip predictions before, so here’s my latest one

Ukip’s conference last week featured some characteristically colourful characters, including a lady with a Nigel Farage tattoo on her arm (and, strangely, one of Robert Smith of The Cure on the other). Significantly, though, attendance was down on last year. Sebastian Payne asked what the point of the party is, now that the Brexit referendum is coming and will answer their existential question either way. Iain Martin at Cap X then predicted that the party had run its course. It’s been a strange few months for the Kippers; a strong poll showing in May combined with a disappointing result, followed by Nigel Farage’s resignation and then un-resignation. Media attention has since focussed

Arron Banks apologises for saying Douglas Carswell is ‘borderline autistic with mental illness wrapped in’

Ukip’s autumn conference has turned into yet another war between Douglas Carswell and other parts of the party. Speaking to a huddle of journalists this afternoon, the Ukip donor and founder of Leave.EU campaign described Carswell as ‘borderline autistic with mental illness wrapped in’. Banks appears to be disgruntled at Carswell’s comments to Coffee House that he is more likely to back the Matthew Elliott-Dominic Cummings Leave campaign. In response, Carswell told BuzzFeed News ‘I think it’s best if I decline to comment. I think the comments are best not dignified with a response.’ Banks has since released an apology but has noted Carswell was provocative towards him: ‘Douglas Carswell was appallingly rude and provocative towards me today which does

Exclusive: Ukip split widens as Douglas Carswell refuses to back ‘Leave.EU’ campaign

Doncaster Racecourse has been aflutter with rumours of an altercation between Ukip’s sole MP Douglas Carswell and Arron Banks, a Ukip donor who founded the leave.EU campaign – which is distinct from the Business for Britain campaign group. In an interview with Coffee House, Banks acknowledged that the pair encountered each other in a corridor today. He said:- ‘Douglas had a few strong words with me, not the other way around. I wished him well and went on my way. He took an exception to something written in the Guardian’. This seems to have been a quote from Banks in the Guardian to the effect that Carswell will have to endorse his Leave.Eu

Westminster ‘Out’ campaign snaps up key eurosceptic MPs

A cross-party group of MPs, including Ukip’s only MP, is to formally join the Westminster-based ‘Out’ campaign, Coffee House has learned. An ‘exploratory committee’ of MPs which started discussing how to advance the case for ‘Out’ in June, will become the Parliamentary Planning committee for the Matthew Elliot-led Out group, which is to move into new offices in Westminster Tower later this month. The members of the parliamentary planning committee are Steve Baker, Douglas Carswell, Bernard Jenkin, Kate Hoey, Kelvin Hopkins, Owen Paterson and Graham Stringer. More MPs will join the committee in the coming weeks. It will advise the campaign team and build support for this particular Out campaign

Lucy Powell’s Mean Girls moment: ‘I have never, ever met Jeremy Corbyn’

After the Queen’s Speech in May, a number of Labour MPs including Chuka Umunna and Rachel Reeves enjoyed a group trip to Nandos. Alas the invite didn’t manage to make its way to blunder-prone Lucy Powell who took to Twitter to awkwardly point this out. Now it seems Ed Miliband’s former deputy campaign chief has put her foot in it once again. Last night Powell engaged in some gentle bitching about Jeremy Corbyn’s lack of social interaction with her. After Miliband’s former political secretary Anna Yearley (who says she will be voting for Liz Kendall) tweeted that Corbyn’s bad attendance record at Parliamentary Labour Party meetings would make it interesting for him to chair one if elected, Powell

Inside Ukip: now the infighting is over, the Kippers are readying for the battle of their lives

Ukip has been especially quiet over the last few months. Following the party’s disappointing result in the general election, Nigel Farage’s ‘unresignation’ and the briefing wars, the party has purposefully kept its head down. With Farage’s return to the spotlight last week, Kippers are gearing up for the fight of their lifetime. This is what has been going on inside Ukip in recent weeks and what you can expect to see from the so-called ‘people’s army’ over the next few months. Give peace a chance Since the internal turmoil and the ‘break’ Farage was urged to take by his colleagues, much of the party’s tensions have calmed down. Some attribute this to the pressure cooker atmosphere

Nigel Farage overruled by Ukip NEC on Short money

The row in Ukip over parliamentary Short money has finally been resolved. Guido reports that Douglas Carswell, the party’s sole MP, has been advertising for a £60k per annum speechwriter, funded out of public money. This is the first indication that Ukip is setting itself up as a proper Westminster party through use of Short money. To recap, the disagreement began after the general election, when a divide opened up between Carswell and Ukip HQ over whether to use some or all of the money allotted to it as an opposition party — known as Short money. Some kippers were keen take all of the available £670k, while Carswell was pushing for a more restrained

The ‘In’ and ‘Out’ EU referendum campaigns begin to take shape

The campaigns to keep Britain ‘In’ or ‘Out’ of the EU are keen to begin their work. The Times today reveals details of a cross-party Eurosceptic group, which is expected to morph into the Brexit campaign. From the Conservatives, Owen Paterson, Steve Baker and Bernard Jenkin are part of this new group. Kate Hoey, Kelvin Hopkins and Graham Stringer represent Labour, while Douglas Carswell has been attending meetings on behalf of Ukip. Dominic Cummings, Michael Gove’s former adviser, has been brought on board to oversee the committee and Stuart Wheeler, a former Ukip donor, is one of the financial backers. If the Out-ers hope to be successful, this is just the sort of broad group they

Ukip sources hit back at Raheem Kassam’s comments on plots and money

Raheem Kassam has blown open the doors on the mad world of Ukip in an interview with The Guardian’s Rowena Mason. A former aide to Nigel Farage, Kassam was the Ukip leader’s righthand man during the election campaign and still remains very close to the leader. But during the briefing wars following Farage’s ‘unresignation’, Kassam became a lightening rod for criticism and eventually left the party. The interview offers his honest take on what’s been going on in Ukip and where the party needs to change. But some Kippers are disputing his characterisation of recent events. The first point of contention is over whether there was a plot to oust Farage as leader. As the Guardian article says: Kassam claims that even

George Galloway could be London’s Nicola Sturgeon

When you tell people you work in or around politics, and if you can break through the initial contempt or boredom, one type of question tends ‎to surface first: ‘what is so-and-so really like?’ There are three answers to that question, only one of them good: ‘They’re exactly how they come across on telly‘, which — unless you’re the likes of Boris Johnson or William Hague — is usually not a compliment. It tends to mean the individual is the kind of wooden, humourless, unthinking, battery hen politician that makes the public yawn, scream or both; ‘They’re a total (uncomplimentary word)’. That word might refer to their private behaviour towards

Diary – 21 May 2015

The aftermath of a general election is a difficult time for any party leader, unless like Mr Cameron you have received a shock majority. I had promised to stand down if I did not win in South Thanet, and confirmed this a few minutes after the result. My huge consolation prize was that Ukip took control of Thanet District Council with a working majority of ten. I am enormously proud of them, and expect them to be a beacon of good governance. However, the level of scrutiny they will be under as the first Ukip-controlled local authority will of course be enormous, as the establishment will be willing them to

Nigel Farage kowtows to critics and takes a summer break

Nigel Farage stamped his authority on Ukip with a round of sackings, but he has also listened to his critics. In his Spectator diary, the Ukip leader admits one of his chief critics Douglas Carswell had a point, saying ‘he was right: I could do with a break.’ He told Emily Matlis on BBC News this afternoon he is planning to take a few weeks off this summer — similarly to the other party leaders: ‘Look, it’s been a difficult time. Who would have believed there would be a majority Conservative government with 331 Conservative MPs with an average of 36,000 votes each, whereas four million people with just one MP. It’s been

Coffee Shots: Friends reunited

What a difference a day makes. Only yesterday it seemed that the Ukip civil war was still rattling on, with Nigel Farage’s former senior advisor Raheem Kassam writing a feisty article for the Telegraph criticising Douglas Carswell, who had in turn criticised Farage. Happily relations between Carswell and Farage seem amiable for now. They were joined by rumoured Ukip leadership hopeful Suzanne Evans for a selfie outside Number 10. The trio met with members of the Green party and Plaid Cymru as they called for David Cameron to organise fairer voting system than first past the post. Not that this cause stopped Carswell from focussing on Ukip matters at the meet. Is this a photo of the future Ukip leadership?

Douglas Carswell breaks cover and says Farage ‘needs to take a break now’

Nigel Farage said today his critics need to put up or shut up and Douglas Carswell has chosen the former. Confirming that he is the ‘senior figure’ Farage mentioned earlier, the Clacton MP has written an op-ed in the Times tomorrow calling for a change in direction. He says that ‘Ukip has arrived — and Ukip is here to stay’ but calls for Farage to step aside as leader, temporarily or permanently: ‘On Monday, Ukip’s national executive committee made a decision to reinstate Nigel as party leader. Yet even leaders need to take a break. Nigel needs to take a break now.’ But in classic Carswell style, he denies that he

Lloyd Evans

Will anything go right for Nigel Farage?

Anxious viewers tuned into Question Time last night to watch live coverage of the ongoing Nigel Farage crisis. Quite a week for the Ukip leader. Up and down. In and out. And back in again. His pitch for a Westminster power-base imploded on election day. And he promptly quit, as promised. But his resignation fared no better than his parliamentary campaign. His withdrawal was rejected. Won’t anything go right for him? He explained to a glum audience in Uxbridge that after losing South Thanet he retreated to ‘a darkened room’ to examine his future. ‘I was going to walk out of there a free man but they dragged me back!’ This

Nigel Farage tells mystery ‘senior figure’ to put up or shut up

Nigel Farage’s fight back has continued with an interview on Sky News this morning. Following on from his appearance on Question Time, the Ukip leader described an ‘astonishing’ level of support for him within the party. But he admitted that there is someone high up within the party trying to cause trouble or oust him as leader: ‘I mean, I’ve never had support like it. There is one senior figure in UKIP briefing every single day, consistently, and he’s now moved on to “there must be a leadership election”. ‘That individual must make his mind up whether his future is with UKIP or not. What is clear is that the sheer level of

Have Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell reached détente over Ukip’s Short money?

The row over what to do with its Short money was the tinderbox for Ukip’s internal tensions. Although the war between Team Farage and Team O’Flynn has been bubbling away for months, the question of what to do with the £650,000 of public funds, combined with Nigel Farage’s un-resignation, kicked off a briefing war that brought these fights into the public domain. But we may have détente between Douglas Carswell and Nigel Farage on state funding. On last night’s Question Time, the Ukip leader — who put in a solid, if not particularly inspiring performance — took the radical step of promising not to take any public funds, which includes the Short money: ‘I’m going

Could this be the row that sees Douglas Carswell leave Ukip?

Ukip is embroiled in an almighty row about money. It suddenly has too much of it, apparently. Guido reports that Douglas Carswell is refusing to take the full £650,000 of Short money that his party is entitled to for running a parliamentary operation that represents the four million votes the party won in the election. Ukip HQ are insisting he should have it, while Carswell is insisting they only take £350,000. HQ sources have been handing out some pretty heavy briefings about Carswell refusing to represent the party’s four million voters. Given the Clacton MP has always operated in a rather detached manner within the party and could easily hold his

Why Ukip will descend into sectarian chaos

Yes, yes, I know it’s supposed to be ‘unfair’ that Ukip ended up with only one MP while securing 13 per cent of the popular vote. But that’s first-past-the-post for you. You have to win a seat to get into Parliament. The British electorate was offered the chance to to ditch FPTP back in 2011 and said, nope, we’ll keep the unfair system. As for Ukip coming second and third in all those Labour seats, it’s impressive but I suspect not terribly significant. White northern working-class voters were protesting against the fact that none of the major parties gave a toss about the destruction of their communities by the merciless progress of