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Ukip MP Douglas Carswell admits 'loyalty to all Eurosceptics' after bust-up

Published 26/09/2015

Ukip MP Douglas Carswell will deliver a speech at the party's conference
Ukip MP Douglas Carswell will deliver a speech at the party's conference

Ukip's only MP has admitted he has loyalties to people in other parties just a day after Nigel Farage claimed he still had ties to the Conservatives.

Douglas Carswell made the admission after he was accused by Mr Farage of having "residual loyalties" to his former party following a furious public bust-up with a Ukip donor which exposed deep divisions at the top of Ukip.

The Clacton MP insisted he would be loyal to any Eurosceptic as he called on the party to work with all anti-Brussels groups.

Mr Carswell stormed out of conference yesterday, claiming donor Arron Banks threatened to get him de-selected unless he backed the businessman's new Leave EU campaign group.

The former Tory instead pledged his loyalty to the separate Business For Britain, which has refused to sign up to the new umbrella organisation, leading Mr Banks to describe him as "borderline autistic".

In his speech at the party's gathering in Doncaster, Mr Carswell told supporters: "We must put our country first.

"This isn't a case of who's going to win democratic elections, this is about whether we remain a self-governing democracy at all.

"We must be prepared to work with anyone - left or right, politician or undecided, all backgrounds, all faiths, all colours, all people.

"There are good, honourable, patriotic members of all parties, we must work with them all.

"It's not enough to win by offering opposition to Brussels, our challenge is to show how Britain can prosper outside the EU.

"It's an enormous honour to have joined Ukip a year ago. I made many friends and have been incredibly warmly welcomed.

"Together we have got an enormous referendum battle ahead; let everything that we do be about winning it, let's do it."

Mr Farage turned up in the hall near the end of the MP's speech and the pair shook hands. But Mr Carswell failed to mention his leader once during his address on electoral reform and made a clear call for the party to reach out to different Eurosceptic groups.

He told Sky News: "I was asked to speak about electoral reform, I talked about change and I think it's unfair of you to try and read anything into it. In fact I have just been chatting to him right here now."

"I have a great deal of loyalty to people in all parties if they are Eurosceptic and I'm very loyal to Eurosceptics because that's how we need to win the referendum," he added.

Mr Carswell said he had kept Ukip informed about his involvement in the Business For Britain campaign group.

He added: "It's very important that, as is the party line, we work with any group that stands a realistic chance of getting designation and I'm doing that and it is very important that I continue to do that."

Ukip's culture spokesman Peter Whittle beat favourite Suzanne Evans to be selected as the party's candidate for London mayor.

Mr Farage said: "Peter has been an asset to Ukip for many years and I am delighted to learn that the party has elected him as our candidate in the battle to become London mayor."

Mr Farage took to the stage to bring the conference to a close by telling supporters the "people's army is back on the march" and defended the decision to join forces with Mr Banks's out campaign.

He said: "I felt yesterday it was absolutely the right thing to do for us to link hands with the Leave EU campaign that so impressively brought together all the groups in this country that want to leave the EU."

The party leader claimed Conservatives were working together to "abuse" Ukip because they were "scared of us".

And he railed against the major parties and Westminster commentators, accusing them of "snobbishness".

"Let me say this to those of you in Westminster who look down with disdain upon me, the party and everybody in this hall - without Ukip there would be no referendum," he said.

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