Douglas Carswell has left UKIP. He will sit as Independent Member for Clacton, and says there’s no need for a by-election because he is not crossing the floor.
Here are the reports in the media:
Statement by Paul Nuttall to all members:
As you will know, Douglas Carswell has announced today that he is resigning from UKIP, to sit as an independent MP. He has said that he is doing this “cheerfully and amicably”.
This is not a surprise. I was elected on a pledge to forge unity in the party, and have had many discussions with key players to try and make that happen, but it had become increasingly clear to me that some things were simply beyond reach.
Douglas was genuinely committed to Brexit, but was never a comfortable Ukipper. On Monday, he had been due to meet with the National Executive Committee to answer various questions relating to longstanding issues, including published allegations that he had joined us in order to try to minimise Nigel Farage’s involvement in the Referendum.
Douglas’s defection to UKIP in 2014, along with Mark Reckless, and the two by-elections we fought successfully for them, proved that UKIP was capable of getting members elected to Parliament – albeit, it was still a tough task (as I know only too well, personally).
Our party has not benefited financially or organisationally from having Douglas in Westminster. With this in mind, his departure will make no difference to my ability or focus on delivering the reforms I promised when elected as Leader.
As we redefine our mission and take up the next phase of our campaign to rebuild a confident, independent nation, Douglas would have been increasingly out of kilter with our members’ aspirations.
We now have an opportunity to put behind us the most damaging internal conflict which has dogged us over the past year, and look forward with optimism and unity of purpose to the very real challenges of policing Brexit and further reforming the vigorous democracy of the UK.