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Ukip's role not over by long shot despite party's only MP quitting, says Farage

Ukip's role in British politics is "not over by a long shot" despite the resignation of the party's only MP Douglas Carswell, Nigel Farage has claimed.

Mr Carswell sensationally quit the party on Saturday, insisting it was "job done" now that the UK has backed Brexit in last June's referendum.

The resignation prompted Labour and the Liberal Democrats to declare that Ukip now has no purpose and no future.

But Mr Farage said "the point about Ukip is what terms we leave the European Union under" and claimed it had already forced concessions on the Government.

He also pointed to reports that ministers are considering proposals to allow EU nationals resident in the UK when Theresa May triggers Article 50 on Wednesday to continue to receive child benefits for families back home as one example of something Ukip will oppose.

"Winning a war is very, very important but also you have to win the peace, the peace is far from won," the former Ukip leader told Sky News's Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

"Already I can see with this Government concessions being made over fishing, the desire of the Prime Minister to stay part of the European Arrest Warrant. This is not over by a long shot.

"With no MPs we forced a referendum in this country. In many ways, outside Parliament Ukip's achievement has been astonishing."

Mr Carswell is resisting calls to trigger a by-election in his Clacton seat, insisting he does not need to as he has not rejoined the Tories or switched allegiances to another party.

But Mr Farage's ally and Ukip's biggest financial backer Arron Banks has said he must call a vote and has promised to stand against him.

Mr Farage revealed he plans to write to every resident in Clacton to ask them if they want a by-election, pointing out Mr Carswell's previous support of plans to allow constituents to recall MPs and trigger by-elections.

Mr Carswell told ITV's Peston On Sunday programme he joined Ukip to secure Brexit and now that had happened he believed it was a case of "job done".

He also rejected the accusation he had jumped before being pushed.

"Not at all," he said.

"There were no formal disciplinary proceedings but it's probably the case that the NEC was going to meet to have a grumble, but they have been doing that about me pretty consistently for the past couple of years so no change there."

He said he would not trigger a by-election because he had not switched parties but he insisted the UK needed "fundamental political change".

"I had hoped that Ukip would be the vehicle for change," he said.

"I am afraid to say I don't think it is. It's a mini-me version of all the big established parties and all their mistakes and merits."

Ukip leader Paul Nuttall said he was "not surprised" Mr Carswell chose to leave the party.

Mr Nuttall insisted the party is not irrelevant, telling the BBC's Sunday Politics programme that a recent opinion poll had the party on 12% while membership continues to rise.

He said: "Yes, we have been through a difficult period but over the summer exciting things are going to be happening within the party."

On the issue of whether there should be a by-election in Clacton, he said: "Douglas is always very keen on recall and if 20% of people within his constituency want a by-election then maybe he should go ahead and we should have one."

Mr Carswell did not rule out standing as a Conservative candidate at the next general election.

When asked by the Sunday Politics programme if he intended to stand as an independent, he said: "Let's wait and see."

But the prospect of Mr Carswell returning to the Tories was not welcomed by Tory former education secretary Nicky Morgan who tweeted: "Let's rule it out for him then #nothanksDouglas."

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