Douglas carswell

Watch: Nigel Farage, Douglas Carswell and Tim Aker on Ukip’s chances with five days to go

Ukip has four key target seats in Essex and Kent it hopes to win on Thursday. In order of likelihood of victory, Clacton, Rochester & Strood, South Thanet and Thurrock are the constituencies to watch on election night. I visited three of these seats yesterday, to find out how each of the candidates are feeling about the impending election, as well as their predictions of how well Ukip will do. 1. South Thanet Ukip candidate: Nigel Farage Last Ashcroft poll: Ukip two points behind Tories WATCH: Highlights from @Nigel_Farage’s final public meeting of the campaign in South Thanet #ge2015 #ukip — Sebastian Payne (@SebastianEPayne) May 2, 2015 Nigel Farage held his

Douglas Carswell interview: Stop using my father to make cheap political points

Douglas Carswell seems rather excited about the Spectator following him around as he campaigns in Clacton, but it’s not clear whether that’s just because our interview starts in McDonald’s. Tucking into a quarter pounder with cheese, the Ukip candidate seems on good form, expounding at length on the failure of mainstream politicians to connect with the electorate, and enthusing about his vision for the party in the future. But a little later, as we plod around the streets of the constituency, his mood changes. He’s getting a lot of messages and calls about a BBC foreign affairs debate that he has pulled out of at the last minute. With each

Is Douglas Carswell avoiding the HIV question — or should he be given a break?

Does Douglas Carswell agree with Nigel Farage’s controversial comments on treating foreigners with HIV? When I asked the Ukip leader, Farage responded ‘Yeah of course, he thinks we should have a national health service not an international health service.’ The question was put to Carswell directly on Question Time last night, when Piers Morgan took him to task if he was ‘ashamed’ at the comments. Carswell responded: ‘I think it’s entirely legitimate and right that we should expect that our National Health Service is a national health service and not an international health service. Now if someone was to fly into this country with no prior connection here at all and to fly in

‘There’s no such thing as a safe seat’: Douglas Carswell explains his absence from Ukip launch

Ukip launched its general election campaign poster today. Nigel Farage was there, both in person and in print, with a very large image of his face emblazoned across the new poster. Mark Reckless was there, posing for photos with the party’s ‘pledge card’ (although unless he has very big pockets or an enormous wallet, the one pictured is probably a poster for people’s windows rather than the real pledge card). And here is our pledge card — Mark Reckless (@MarkReckless) March 30, 2015 But Reckless isn’t the party’s only MP, is he? Where was Douglas Carswell? Carswell was back in his constituency campaigning today, and received a barrage of

How Ukip became the incredible disappearing party | 26 March 2015

The establishment drive to marginalise Ukip has been under way for three months now, and it has having its effect. You will not read anything about Ukip in your newspapers unless it is a negative story — some half-witted candidate’s office fraudulently claiming expenses, or a disappointed member explaining that they’re all vile people and so on. The papers have, by and large, cottoned on to the fact that Nigel Farage saying something a little gamey about race is not, actually, a negative story. Whenever the Ukip leader mused in moderate terms that he found it uncomfortable to sit on a train where he was the only person speaking English,

Rod Liddle

How Ukip became the incredible disappearing party

The establishment drive to marginalise Ukip has been under way for three months now, and it has having its effect. You will not read anything about Ukip in your newspapers unless it is a negative story — some half-witted candidate’s office fraudulently claiming expenses, or a disappointed member explaining that they’re all vile people and so on. The papers have, by and large, cottoned on to the fact that Nigel Farage saying something a little gamey about race is not, actually, a negative story. Whenever the Ukip leader mused in moderate terms that he found it uncomfortable to sit on a train where he was the only person speaking English,

What Ukip wants: get Farage elected, then prepare for a Labour collapse in the north

[audioplayer src=”″ title=”Sebastian Payne and Matthew Goodwin discuss what goes on behind the scenes at Ukip” startat=1222] Listen [/audioplayer]In Ukip’s Mayfair headquarters there is a copy of Banksy’s monkey with the sign around its neck: ‘Laugh now, but one day we’ll be in charge’. It seems appropriate. For years, Nigel Farage and his party were dismissed as a bunch of cranks. Within three months, they could be propping up David Cameron’s government, having named their price — perhaps an EU referendum before the year is out. Conservatives stopped sneering at Ukip a while ago. Now they’re more worried about its ambitions. What does Ukip want? Will it attack from the

Ukip aren’t so jubilant anymore

Nigel Farage has now arrived at the Ukip conference. He strode through the bar area, followed by an entourage larger than the one that accompanies the Prime Minister. Delegates clapped as he passed them. He will be speaking shortly, and it does feel as though he’s got rather a task. The mood of the conference so far has not been anywhere near as jubilant as the mood at the party’s autumn conference, which was consistently ecstatic, even before Mark Reckless appeared on stage right at the end to announce he was defecting. The speeches so far have not been any better or worse than last year, and the election is

Isabel Hardman

Steven Woolfe tells us what Ukip doesn’t believe about immigration

You might think that Ukip’s immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe had the easiest portfolio in the party. After all, as the ComRes/ITV poll showed yesterday, Ukip is already the most trusted party on immigration. It doesn’t sound like much hard work, does it? But Woolfe sees his job as being to articulate what the party doesn’t believe, explaining that it isn’t a party that dislikes immigrants per se, but one that wants to clamp down on mass immigration. He has just finished his speech to the conference, which he broke up with two speeches from Harjit Singh Gill, former Mayor of Gloucester, and Edward Fila. Both spoke about their experiences as

Douglas Carswell vs Nigel Farage (again) — but are these real disagreements?

Is Douglas Carswell happily at home in Ukip? The Clacton MP’s latest policy intervention, this time on immigration, adds to the sense that his beliefs differ somewhat from his party and its leader. His op-ed in the Times today for example stated that Enoch Powell was wrong about the dangers of immigration: ‘Immigration has not been without its challenges. Yet it has been, overwhelmingly, a story of success. Britain today is more at ease with the multi-ethnic society that we have become than once seemed imaginable — and not just to Enoch Powell. Like many before and since, Powell underestimated the ability of a free society to adapt.’ Nigel Farage on the other hand has backed the ‘basic

Ukip MPs infiltrate Conservative HQ’s Twitter feed

If social media is going to play a deciding role in the general election, the brains at Conservative HQ ought to take a closer look at who they promote on their Twitter account. The official Conservative Twitter feed has a Tweetminster list of Tory MPs on it which allows their 131,000 followers to catch up with the ramblings of all of their MPs at once. However, a quick inspection of the Tweetsminster list shows that Ukip defectors Douglas Carswell and Mark Reckless remain on it despite abandoning the party: This means the Tory Twitter account is letting Ukip reach their audience, as these tweets show…   If the Conservatives plan to unsubscribe from the

Even Ukip don’t dare break the unhealthy consensus on the NHS

There’s an irony about Ukip’s rise. Nigel Farage party’s popularity is driven by a widespread sense that the main parties are all the same. Yet in the past four years, the differences between the Labour party and the Conservatives have grown substantially, on issues from the size of the state to an EU referendum. In an election year you might expect parties to converge in the centre ground as they chased swing voters. It won’t happen this time. Labour is determined to stop left-wingers defecting to the SNP and the Greens, while the Tories, who have long had their own issue on the right because of Ukip, believe that their

Ukip MPs decline to comment on Nigel Farage’s ‘chinky’ remarks

Another week, another controversial set of controversial remarks from Nigel Farage — this time, it’s about the use of the word ‘chinky’ by Kerry Smith, who was running to be the Ukip PPC in South Basildon and East Thurrock. During his LBC phone-in show this morning, Farage had the following exchange with presenter Nick Ferrari about why he is ‘sad’ about Smith’s decision to resign from Ukip: ‘Farage: Because Kerry Smith is a rough diamond, he’s a council house boy from the east end of London, left school early and talks and speaks in a way a lot of people from that background do. We can pretend if we like…

From coalition to chaos – get ready for the age of indecision

A recent email from Samantha Cameron started an intriguing debate in the Prime Minister’s social circle. It was an invitation to a Christmas party at Chequers and word quickly spread on the Notting Hill grapevine that the PM was convening an unusually large gathering of friends at his country retreat. So, the guests wondered: were they being asked around because the Camerons were having a last hurrah at Chequers, sensing that they would be evicted by the electorate? Or was the bash being thrown because they were in celebratory mood, convinced that the political tide has turned their way? This confusion is understandable. We might only be three months away

Listen: Roger Helmer reveals Ukip’s approach to candidate selection

Ralph Atkinson ranted this weekend that Ukip have ‘standards of democracy lower than the unelected European Commission’ after he was allegedly ousted as the Ukip candidate for Hastings and Rye in favour of the wealthy Gogglebox ‘celebrity’ Andrew Michael. Now Mr S learns of a leaked recording which appears to show Roger Helmer, MEP for Ukip, letting slip the party’s selection stance when it comes to high profile names. In it he claims that Ukip is prepared to sweep away loyal local candidates for more high profile ones, as was done in the case of Douglas Carswell. Speaking in November at #RepealClimateAct: A Practical UK Energy Policy Event, Helmer said: ‘The problem

How will Ukip use its first Autumn Statement in Parliament?

A lot of focus today will be on how Labour would cut the deficit (and perhaps how George Osborne actually plans to get it done rather than just talking about it, given the Item Club warning that deficit reduction will plateau). Ed Balls has been arguing this morning that Labour would ‘balance the books in a fairer way’ but he’s got to show this afternoon when he responds to the Autumn Statement that Labour really can persuade voters to trust the party again on the economy, especially now that he and Ed Miliband rank behind Farage on this matter. But speaking of Farage, today is the first economic statement in

Ukip’s Patrick O’Flynn on the ‘genius’ Nigel Farage and why Douglas Carswell’s votes won’t set party policy

Interviews with Ukip bigwigs used to happen in pubs. But times are changing. When I meet Patrick O’Flynn — the party’s economics spokesman, and until recently chief spin doctor — it’s in a juice bar. O’Flynn, a former political editor of the Daily Express who studied economics at Cambridge, is one of those driving Ukip towards professionalism. Ukip, he says, is the only party he’s ever joined, and it is ‘not part of the Conservative family’. That is why he rates its chances in northern Labour seats: ‘We didn’t close down any coal mines or steelworks and we’re not known as the patrician Home Counties rich people’s party.’ He claims,

How to fight Ukip

In the 2005 general election this magazine supported the Conservatives, with one exception — we urged voters in Medway not to vote for a deeply unimpressive Tory candidate by the name of Mark Reckless. Our then political editor, Peter Oborne, went so far as to write a pamphlet in support of the Labour rival, Bob Marshall Andrews, who had a commendable record of sticking it to Tony Blair. Reckless, by contrast, had nothing to commend him. He lost by just 213 votes — suggesting that The Spectator’s intervention had been decisive. But nothing, it seems, will prevent Reckless from being elected as Ukip’s second MP in two weeks’ time. The Ukip momentum

Ukip 13 points ahead in Rochester & Strood

Tonight, we have a second poll from Rochester & Strood and it again shows Ukip ahead. Mark Reckless doesn’t lead by Clacton margins—Ukip are on 43 and the Tories 30 in this ComRes poll—but his advantage is formidable with just four weeks to go. Particularly alarming for the Tories is how many voters there intend to use this by-election to kick the government. 62 percent of those polled agree with the statement that, ‘“This by-election is a good opportunity for me to show David Cameron and the Conservative Party how unhappy I am with their government”   Having already announced that Cameron—and every other Tory member of the Cabinet—will visit